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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

WC092723: How I shake off a bad mood.


Today's challenge is how I shake off a bad mood.


Dr. Gray mentions that when men have a problem that they are having a hard time solving they go into their cave, and that a woman needs to leave them alone until they've solved the problem.

My wife calls it getting moody and brooding.

I have a hard time sleeping when something is bugging me, which really bugs my wife as I get up and go into another room so she can sleep, but somehow this doesn't help her sleep.

Fixating on it can be self-defeating, the more you think about it the fewer options you have come up with to solve it. This is where Archimedes comes in. He had a problem and couldn't sleep so his wife told to take a bath. When he got into the bath and he saw the water rise from displacing his mass, that was the problem he was working on and it solved the problem and he left the bathtub and ran naked across Syracuse yelling "Eureka, Eureka" (I found it.) 

I usually can't sleep because my mind is fixated on the problem, so I listen to an audiobook, that way I can stay in bed and not disturb my wife. Hearing aids are hooked up to my phone.

During the day and I'm still brooding on the problem I turn to comedy. If you start laughing problems seem to melt, get put into perspective and a solution comes, or I accept it and move on.

I had a particularly bad principal one year who was on my case and my blood pressure was rising. I was wondering if I would be standing on a streetcorner with a sign "Will Teach For Food."

We went to see The Addams Family, which kind of dates this problem and when we left the theater I told my wife, "I needed that." It lifted the burden I was carrying off my shoulders. 

The next day in the teacher's lounge a special ed teacher told me, "She's temporary, you're permanent." That helped too.

When the principal finished my evaluation, she mentioned I wasn't working with the students. Shorthand for outside the classroom. I told her I was sponsor the Rodeo club and Youth and Government. She backed off but was left with a pissed off teacher. Oh, how good it is to be retired.

When problems arise, we have the complete Becker with Ted Danson on DVD, and we sit and laugh. There's The Fifth Element, which we just say Big Badda Boom, and know it's time to watch and escape for a few hours.

An earlier post I mentioned the problems I've been having getting a doctor's appointment for the last six months. When I got the call with a date and time, even though it's another six months away, again a burden was lifted. Sometimes the problems don't get fixed right away. I found ways to relieve the stress in that time with various coping mechanisms.

Friday, September 22, 2023

The supplemental trap

 When I retired the Educational Retirement Health Care Authority offered two choices for a provider. BCBS or Presbyterian. BCBS worked with all medical facilities and with Pres you were locked into just their doctors.

I chose BCBS and then Pres announced they would not honor BCBS. That stuck me with Lovelace, which doesn't have as many doctors or facilities as Pres. I did get good doctors and needed little more that treatment for diabetes.

When I reached 65 and went on Medicare the choices were a lot more. BCBS offered the only supplemental plan, Pres, United Health, Humana have advantage plans.

My mother was on the supplemental plan, it cost more, but everything was covered that Medicare didn't. I've been pretty happy with it until the doctor I had was so tied up I couldn't get in to see him and he's left Optum which took over Lovelace. 

Oak Street Health recently came into New Mexico and was advertising. I got an appointment last February, had an initial consultation and did a blood test. In March when going over the results the doctor was concerned the prostate test was too high and could be cancer. He said he'd do a referral to a urologist. I told him not to book one with Pres as they don't take BCBS.

For five years the Optum doctor never did a blood test for prostate cancer for a patient over 65!

In May I get a referral to a Pres doctor. I declined telling someone in Virginia to contact the doctor and get a referral to Optum. I called Optum and was told they don't have a urology department. Let that sink in, the second largest medical provider in this state doesn't have a urology department!

I scheduled an appointment with the doctor in August, since I was getting nowhere on getting a referral to either UNM Hospital or NM Cancer Center for an appointment. I explained the problem again about BCBS. 

August 21 I've got a referral, and it said if I haven't heard anything from the doctor named to call thier number and let them know. I called the person in Virginia who said they'd do another referral. I wait two weeks and getting someone else they said contact the doctor to get the appointment. I did.

I now have an appointment for March 1. It's taken a full year to see a doctor about possible cancer.

Part 2.

I got the packet for open enrollment for this year. The same offerings are there, and I planned on taking the poison pill and going with Pres, but I looked over the other Advantage Plans. Pres does not have a supplemental.

BCBS supplemental is $240 a month. Pres Advantage 1 is $98, but there are copays, but $2,500 max for the year. United Health's Advantage 1 is $46/month with copays half those of Pres, and $2,500 max/year.

I calculated the 240 I paid last year against United's 46 and even if I maxed out for the year, I paid 52 dollars more for a plan that I barely used for the last five years. Nearly 200 extra month I've been paying.

Now I know just as I might be getting to the point of maxing out the plan.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

WC: Would You Move to a Mars Settlement?


Today's challenge is, would you move to a Mars settlement.

That's easy. Not at my age. I'm not moving anywhere willingly.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

WC: 060923 Song lyrics I've misheared.


Song lyrics I've misheard.

Oops, somehow my link to Long and Short Reviews got my email not my name.

My brother and I in front of the Record Music Company around 1962. My baby sister had a Nipper a stuffed dog. FYI, Nipper was the dog in front of the gramophone bell that was the RCA logo.

My grandparents owned a music store in Pueblo, Colorado. It sold .45's, LP's, band instruments, the first color TV's in town, late 50's early 60's. My aunt and her family took over the business and my father got a job in Albuquerque, but I'd spend summers with my grandparents in Pueblo. 

We would go fishing and ride around the state, but between those times I'd spend time in "The Store" behind the counter selling mostly .45's for 95 cents plus a nickel tax for a buck.

I read the entire Lord of the Rings the summer between 7th and 8th grade. That's how little I had to do at times those summers.

I learned early how to count money back to the customers and it irks me to this day to have a clerk hand me a handful of change at check out.

The buyers would want to hear the song first and I would play them on the turntable on the counter. Sometimes they'd even buy a record I recommended. I got paid in the records I wanted to keep. Came back with lots of them, aunt only let me have singles not albums.

There were times when someone would hear a song on the radio and come in asking for that song.

The most blaring mishearing of a song I remember was someone wanting, "Bones falling apart in the street."

It turned out to be Boneparte's Retreat," by Glenn Campbell.

It was fun when everyone wanted the song "Feeling Groovy," by Simon and Garfunkel. AKA "The 59th Bridge Street Song."

Usually, the song had a repeated phrase in a chorus, but the title came from an opening line.

Best off the top of my head right now.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

WC: Weirdest Thing I Loved as a Child.


The weirdest thing I loved as a child.

Define weird!
Stuff I love is perfectly normal to me, to someone else they might think it weird.

Today with all the crazies in NRA running around with machine guns strung on their back while shopping in Wally World, I find that kind of weird. Who are they afraid of?

That's it, as a kid I grew up on Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Rifleman, Have Gun will Travel, Bonanza etc. I was the kid in A Christmas Story dreaming of the Red Rider BB gun.
I had party pooper parents and never got the BB gun. I got cap guns, toy rifles, and other kinds of guns, but nothing that expelled objects. I kind of recollect a large rubber pistol that shot a ping pong ball when you squeezed it.
If whatever cheap plastic toy gun I got, fell apart and it was a while before my birthday, or Christmas I made do with a stick. I entertained myself shooting at imaginary outlaws or whatever.
You'd think I grew up to be gun crazy, and I did buy a .22 pistol and a .38 pistol, a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shot gun. I was working at a department store selling guns in the sporting good dept. in Plainview, TX.
I found a farmer that would let me go into his field and fire them. Even with ear plugs do not fire a .22 magnum! Like an icepick in both ears.
I liked plinking at tin cans with the rifle and shot a few shells to get used to the kick of the shotgun. I left the job at the department store and became a security guard at a meat packing plant. I got the shot gun because the state announced pheasant season first of October that year and on the other side of the fence I knew of a cock and three hens nesting there.
Come first day of hunting season I was scheduled to work 11pm to 7am. I watched 20 guys show up at midnight looking for that lone rooster. So much for hunting.
When going through my divorce I needed cash and I sold he .22 and .38 for cash. I kept the rifle and shotgun until I remarried, and my son was born.  Sold both of them as I didn't want a gun in the house with a small child.
Years later my father was diagnosed with dementia. Mom asked me to take his guns away. He was an ex-marine and worked before becoming an elementary teacher bouncing in bars. I took his S%W .38 that was older than me, and an AK47 that his veteran buddies convinced him that Bill Clinton was going to keep him from buying. I took them to a pawn shop. He paid $600 for that AK and I got $50 as there were eight of them on display behind the counter. He went out and fired it at the police shooting range and I went with him. I fired the .38 a few times. When he fired that AK it scared the hell out of me. The power of that bullet is horrible.
It sickens me that people use something like that to kill elementary children.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Memories on my birthday


You have no idea how hard it was to get a picture of this book!

I'm traveling down memory lane today. I turned 70.

I've reached the three score and ten mentioned in the Bible as the life expectancy of man.

Way back in 1976, as a fresh graduate of college and living in student housing at seminary in Fort Worth, just after first wife and my one-year anniversary (there wouldn't be a second), I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. I got a few books for free and was only required to buy four over the next year. This was one of those free books.

It was June, classes wouldn't start until September. I was working at a bank as a file clerk for four hours a day and in the evenings walking around a drug store keeping the shoplifting down. I'd get home, have a bite to eat. Spend time with wife before she went to bed, and I'd read for an hour or so before joining her. 

I got this book in the mail and started reading. I finished it at 8 in the morning. It was a Saturday so no need to go to the bank and I went to bed. Wife was not happy, and I could hear her talking to the neighbors in the apartment next door asking where I was, and she told them I spent all night reading a book. The wife next door told her (this was seminary housing) "Get used to it, when classes start this will be the norm."

The book is about a man ejecting from an escape pod right before his ship is destroyed by enemy fire. His pod lands on an alien planet that is not space flight capable. He's taken into custody and taken to the chief of the village. The area he's in is at war and he's treated with suspicion, but the war lord of the area sees his importance and give him a female to teach him their language. He then lends a hand in helping the war lord win the war, but the woman he fell in love with dies in battle.

This is 1976, the plot was new to me, it was well written and captivating hence reading it through the night. I've read many books in one sitting, but never through the night, it's usually an all-day kind of thing.

I started getting a lot of books from the SF book club, I focused on Asimov, Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clark, Anne McCaffrey and others. 

Marriage broke up, seminary was over, and I returned home to Albuquerque and civilization. Texas is a good place to be FROM.

Took a bit to get divorced, and meanwhile while doing odd and ends kind of jobs I had a lot of time in the basement of my parent's house to read and read and read. I read everything I could get my hands on by Harlan Ellison, Harold Robbins, Isaac Asimov, barely made a dent in his works, all the dragon books and Crystaline Singers of Anne McCaffrey and hit a stone wall trying to read everything by James A. Michener.

I got remarried (coming up to 44th anniversary). In the summer of 1980, a mini-series was advertised to be coming out in a few months called Shogun.

I was working at diesel repair shop as shop clerk and handling warranty. I finally bought the book by James Clavell. I'd been reluctant to buy another book that thick after banging my head against the wall by Michener. I decided to read it before the mini-series which wouldn't come out until October.

I start reading it and all of a sudden, the plot is familiar. Granted it is much more involved, has tons of history and huge culture clash. It does read fast while Michener plods and is dull and dry at times. 

It hit me. Brothers of the Earth, in a much simpler form and set in outer space.

Shogun came out before Brothers. I could see where CJ borrowed the plot and extrapolated it as science fiction. 

Recently I looked Ms. Cherryh up on Amazon. She's now 80 and has over 80 published books and other writings.

For some reason her used books are much cheaper than e-books and they're not on unlimited.

So, I went across town to a used bookstore. It's actually an exchange, you bring in a sack full of paperbacks or hardbacks, they give you credit for them and then pay the difference for the sack full of books you're buying.

I used to raid my parents' library in the basement I used to reside in and could get lots and lots of books for around a buck and change. This was in the 80's, and I lived not far from the store. The daughter now runs the place and it's still there, one of the few stores left on that stretch of a main street. Almost all the others have been bulldozed down and there's nothing, but dirt left for a few blocks.

Anyhoo, I stopped by and found six books by CJ in hardback. No longer had an account with credit and didn't think to clean out my paperback library so they cost twenty bucks. About what one e-book of hers would cost.

I don't like reading hard copy anymore. I just bought a Super Jumbo Print NASV Bible from Amazon to use at church.

I've finished her book Rimrunners and have five to go. She reminds me a lot of Andre Norton, and her style of SF is in that mode. If you're into early Asimov, Norton, and the great writers of the 40's 50's, 60's she's right up your alley, even though she didn't start publishing until the 70's she's carried on that tradition.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

WC082323 Three Fun Facts About Me


Hoo Boy! Three Fun Facts About Me?

1. I have a great sense of humor. I love hearing or reading jokes and telling them. I've learned over the years to censor the jokes I told years ago in the locker room, but I still have a lot of jokes to tell.

A man walks into a bar and says, "Bartender, give me a Martinus."

The bartender looks perplexed and answers, "You mean a Martini?"

The man says, "If I wanted more than one, I'd ask for it."

What do you get when you cross and police officer with a flamingo? Pink Fuzz.

Two guys were playing golf, one hit his ball into some flowers and the other into shrubs. The first man swung his club and tore up some buttercups. The Goddess of the Glen appeared and said, "You've ruined my buttercups, for the rest of your life you can't eat butter. He yelled over to his buddy, "Where are you at?"

His friend said, "I'm here in the pussy willows." The first man yelled, "Don't hit them! Don't hit them.

I prefer to watch comedies than any other types of entertainment. The Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Abbot and Castello, Laurel and Hardy, Steve Martin. Lily Tomlin, Grady Nut, Chonda Pierce, Rita Rudner, Phylis Diller, etc. I grew up watching sit coms from I love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke Show, to WKRP in Cincinnati, Cheers, Becker, All in the Family, Happy Days That Girl, Mary Tyler Moore Show. Was there ever a cast better than the Carol Bernette Show? The first five years of Saturday Night Live, even Hee Haw and Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. You could watch and laugh your head off. 

I couldn't get through half an episode of The Office, Big Bang Theory or any sit com since Becker. I have the complete box set of Becker DVD's and whenever we're in need of laughs we watch them. No matter how many times we watch them they are funny. The Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinatti is the funniest show ever filmed. Abbot and Castellow's "Who's on First," is the greatest routine ever done.

They were funny and clean. Groucho Marx once said, "If you have to be dirty to be funny, you're not funny."

The eighties and nineties the sit coms were all about putting each other down, insults, pranks. The movies think being gross is funny.  Okay off my soapbox.

2. As an English teacher who also taught psychology, I am great at analysis. It drives my wife crazy. We watch murder mystery shows and I've figured out who did it before the first commercial. Somehow that ruins it for her. It came in handy when working for an attorney. When a new client hired him, he had me look over all the documents and organize them. I'd read all of them while scanning them and write a synopsis of the case. Helped him sometimes, others he'd fill me in on what the law thinks against common sense.

3. I love trivia. I'm a fountain of knowledge on the most arcane and useless information out there. My wife refuses to play trivial pursuit with me. She likes Scrabble, she can beat me at that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

WC081623 A Documentary I Liked


Today's challenge is a documentary I liked.

I've been a Lakers fan since the rivalry between Lakers and Celtics with Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and others in the 60's and 70's.

This documentary starts with Jerry Buss becoming the owner of the Lakers and picking Earvin (Magic) Johnson as his first first round pick. It starts there and follows the Buss family's ups and down to the day it aired. The one thing that caught my attention is when Buss was facing a 4-million-dollar lump sum payment to the banks, and he couldn't make the payment. He sold the naming rights to the bank for what he owed, and this started all teams selling naming rights for their stadiums.

It brought lots of memories back of watching the rivalry between Magic and Larry Bird, Shaq and Kobe Bryant. At the end of the documentary Jenny Buss says that the Lakers and Celtics are tied at 18 championships each. Since then, she's won another one.

Michael Cooper played for UNM and is one of the few Lobos to make it big in the NBA. I have fond memories of watching one of the best teams the Lobos ever fielded with him and Marvin Johnson. Not only was Cooper a great player for the Lakers, but when Buss branched out into the WNBA, he became the coach for the women and won a number of championships with them.

HBO has a dramatized series with lots of naked women, Buss was a notorious womanizer, and pro athletes have groupies, but it is over the top in portraying some of the characters like Jerry West and Larry Bird. 

Years ago I watched a BBC docudrama Super Volcano. It dramatized what would happen when, not if, Yellowstone erupted again. It fascinated me which led me to researching vulcanism and writing my three books on how mankind could prepare for such a disaster and keep our civilization alive through ten years of a volcanic winter. I can't find a jpeg picture online only the Utube video.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

WC080923 The Strangest Dream I've Had Recently


The Strangest Dream I've had recently.

A few days ago, I woke up from a dream, where my wife and daughter died in a car crash. It's natural to dream of the unthinkable off and on. Usually, you imagine what you'd do or react to the situation.

I started imagining how I would do their memorial service. I did my mother's two years ago and remembered a number of pictures I couldn't find that I wanted in her remembrance.

This had me choosing pictures of my wife and daughter. There are tons of them. What struck me is that there are very few of my wife alone. Almost all of them are with family, children or with me.

Recently for her birthday I bought her a white peasant top with colorful embroidery, and she loves it and has been wearing it a lot.

I've decided the next time she wears it I'll take her picture and start taking other pictures from time to time of just her. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

WC080223: A job I wouldn't be good at.


Today's challenge is: A job I wouldn't be good at.

There were a number of jobs I had before becoming a teacher.

I worked at a Taco Bell and A&W Root beer stand over the summers in high school. It paid 75 cents an hour at Taco Bell, but all the food I could eat. I was 16 and had a hollow leg. Everything on the menu was a quarter, got fired for eating too much. A&W was fun for a summer job, paid $1.15/hour, but I found out fast food was not for me.

I was in high school JROTC for two years. Decided the military was not for me. It was the last year of the draft for Vietnam and my lottery number was high enough I didn't get drafted. 

Worked at a Skaggs Drug Store and Howard's Department Store and it was better than fast food but pay was low and didn't have benefits.

 Going through a divorce I tried to do door to door sales selling fire alarms. Nearly went broke. They sent me all over town to do an hour-long demonstration and sales pitch where I left empty handed but had to pay for all the gas I used, and time wasted.

I worked construction with a high school buddy who had a backhoe service. He worked the backhoe and I drove a dump truck, did a lot of spreading gravel with a rake putting in septic tanks. Did a lot of work and all his checks bounced.

Thought I had a career doing warranty for a Cummins repair shop. The economy went belly up and was laid off, with wife eight months pregnant and lost health insurance.

That's when I finished my methods classes and student teaching to get a career capable of having a family.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

WC072623: A Job I'd Be Good At


Today's Challenge is A Job I'd Be Good At.

I was born with chalk in my hand. A bit dated as today it's a computer hooked up to a video shown on a TV or smart board. I'm a teacher. Not was a teacher. I am still a teacher. I teach a bible study class at my church on Tuesday mornings. After class we go to a diner for breakfast. Over the summer we have been studying the book of Judges. Before Covid I had a Sunday School class where I taught the book of Hebrews. After the shutdown most of my class became homebound or died and when before we had two classes, we're down to one and a former Methodist pastor is the teacher, but I put my two cents worth in all the time.

Before I started teaching, I thought I would be a good warranty administrator at a diesel repair shop, but the price of gas doubled, and the repair shop went belly up. That's when I finished my methods classes and got my certification to teach.

When I started working with an attorney my dreams of becoming an attorney evaporated. I taught Street Law (high school class) and learned just enough to be dangerous and didn't want to go into that field. Taking pleadings and doing other grunt work while spending most of my time writing in a quiet office was great, but there was no way I wanted to do all that paperwork. All power to the attorney as it was his bread and butter.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

WC: Share One Interesting Fact I Know.



Share one interesting fact I know.

Hmmm, so many to choose from. 

I've decided on the facts I learned about the father of oceanography while researching the life of Matthew Fontaine Maury.

As head of the National Observatory starting in 1844 he started having over a hundred years of naval logs gathering dust evaluated and required all naval and merchant vessels sailing under the U.S. flag to fill out logs on their voyages and give them to the observatory. 

At this time the only charts available for use for the shores of the U.S. came from Britain and they charged a high price for them, and they dated from before the Revolutionary War.

In 1848 the observatory released the first wind and currents charts for the Atlantic and afterwards for the Pacific, followed by all the oceans by 1856. 

By 1851 at the height of the gold rush to California those charts not only saved hundreds of ships from hitting shoals and reefs saving thousands of lives but shortened the sailing time from New York City from 180 days to an average of 90 days and records by clipper ships down to 81.

Those charts were given by the U.S. out to all maritime nations for free in exchange for them turning in their ships logs both merchant and naval to Washington D.C. By 1856 Maury had 186,000 floating laboratories collecting wind, currents, and other data to keep the charts current.

In 1858 his routs from New York to Rio De Janeiro was cut short by a third. He charted a route using the Antarctic winds and shortened the route from England to Australia by a thousand miles.

His textbook The Geography of the Seas was used as a textbook at Annapolis until 1927.

This is why he is considered as the father of oceanography and meteorology. 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Soap Box Saturday: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Kathleen McElroy’s appointment as journalism director was celebrated at first. Credit...Meredith Seaver/Bryan-College Station Eagle

The New York Times today had an opinion piece about Kathleen McElroy. She was the director of the school of journalism at the University of Texas.

She was hired to take over the same position at Texas A&M. McElroy is a graduate of A&M in 1981, she was a supporter of the university and helped found and fund "The Battalion" the campus newspaper. She has decades of journalism experience and worked on the New York Times She also worked on the 1619 Project. 

It would seem she'd be the perfect candidate to revive a school of journalism that is not granting degrees at this time. 

There's another alumni group at A&M "The Rudder Group," that opposed her joining the staff. Seems she would promote diversity, equity and inclusion. They had help in their complaint as Texas governor Greg Abbot at about the same time signed a law that diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be taught at state public universities.

Seems to me the good Christian governor of Texas just outlawed Christ's Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."

When asked about the charges she is quoted as saying, "Diversity, equity and inclusion, have been a small part of my journalism and academic career."

The school changed her contract from five years to one and offered her a non-tenured position. She chose to go back to her tenured position at UT, but they've replaced her directorship. I would not be surprised that all hell will break out an UT as well. 

The Declaration of Independence. It states quite plainly the "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men (that means everyone) are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights and among these are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." 

Isn't equity the same thing as equality? The definition of equity is: The quality of being fair and impartial. Oh, Golly Gee, isn't that what we want referees and umpires to be? Don't we want our judicial system to be fair and impartial? Don't we as parents with students in the public schools to expect the district, administration and teachers to be fair and impartial? But you can't teach it! Hogwash!

Why is teaching students that they are all equal in the classroom and they will be treated fairly and impartially regardless of their differences not allowed? D.E.I. should be mandatory in all educational settings in the United States regardless of public or private schools.

Everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty is the basis of Due Process of Law, mentioned numerous times in the amendments to the Constitution. Due Process has as its basis D.E.I.

Red state legislatures and governors that are banning the teaching of D.E.I are trying to erase the foundation of this country and our rule of law and using our children as guinea pigs to do it.

Here is the real witch hunt. I'm a retired teacher and I shudder for all my fellow public-school teachers across this country for being in the crosshairs of wannabe Cotton Mathers wanting to hang them for doing their jobs.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

WC071223: Describe Your Fashion Sense


Today's topic: Describe Your Fashion Sense.

Mine depends on the season. Right now (summer), for the most part I'm in cargo shorts, t-shirt or polo and Nike walking shoes, I have multicolored shirts and a number of Cowboys shirts especially #4, also Isotopes for games and Lobos. I'll put on pants and short sleeve shirts and dark walking shoes for church.

In the fall dress pants, long sleeve shirts and maybe a sweater vest for church. The rest of the week a track suit with t-shirt and trainers. I prefer Adidas and have black, navy blue and red for variety. For rain I have a number of wind breakers. It's gotten to where I like an elastic waist band over pants that need a belt. Cowboy's jersey for the games of course. It's seldom the Hobo...err Lobos have a game on TV.

In winter I wear blue and black jeans, sweater or long sleeve shirts with sweater vest inside and blue jean jacket or heavy jacket outside. I have four cowboy hats, but rarely wear them as they don't fit inside a car and it's futile to wear them for a couple of minutes from car to door. For church I wear either one of four corduroy sport coats (navy, black, grey and brown) with blue or black jeans and black cowboy boots with turtleneck or dress shirt and bolo tie.

I also have a black three-piece suit which doubles for formal with a black bow tie, navy suit, grey sport coat and a gold cowboy cut sport coat. I don't wear them much since I'm not in an office and taking papers to the courthouse. They're a little too dressy anymore for church. I have a large collection of ties, but rarely wear them as they are a pain.

 Around the house cotton sweats with heavy socks.

Spring is back to what I wear in fall. 

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

WC 070523: How I stay cool during heat waves.


The challenge today is timely as we're in a heat wave in the high 90's and triple digits right now.

My way to stay cool is to water early in the morning my flower beds, weed a bit and then take a shower.

I stay in the house with the swamp cooler which keeps the bedroom area cool. The living room used to be a problem, but we recently installed a three-speed ceiling fan and with it on high it keeps the living room and kitchen livable. Nice to have solar panels on the house so I don't worry about the electric bill.

If I have to go out my car has a good air conditioner and I park as close to where I'm going as I can.

It won't be long until our monsoon hits and the rains cool things down. Then wife and I will start taking walks around the neighborhood again.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023



Today's challenge: Recent Song I've Loved.

If by recent does that means within the last two years or decades? The answer is a resounding NO! Somebody strutting around the stage preaching hate and misogyny while seeing how fast they can hic up doesn't count as music in my dictionary.

In church for the last twenty years all the praise choruses are cotton candy meaningless drivel tailor made to turn the congregation into sheep and accept assholes like Trump as God's anointed.

I'm a seventy-year-old curmudgeon that grew up on Elvis, Pat Boone, Sam Cooke, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Connie Francis, The Everly Brothers and that was until I turned ten. Then it was Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Herman's Hermits, Rolling Stones (hated the Beatles), The Turtles, Elvis movies and songs, loved the girls doing "the shake," Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, The Monkees, etc.

God, don't get me started on 70's music there's too many to list. Still sad that Bill Chase, and Jim Croce died so young.

 Went a little country with George Strait and Garth Brooks, Shania Twain in the 90's as decent pop music went belly up.

I live in an age where I can still enjoy all my music, and I have the bread to pay a little a month to have a dozen lists of my favorite artists and songs from all decades all on my smart phone through the magic of Amazon Music and Spotify.

Really pissed here, I converted all my LP's to digital and on my computer. For years I could download them to my phone and play them while driving to work and back. Then 5G hit and the phones wouldn't let me download them forcing me to pay for steaming. The other side is I now have a lot of music that wasn't on my computer. I confess, I listen to the Partridge Family from time to time.

When I go to the gym I play my hard rock music, Iron Butterfly, Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seger, Chase, Chicago, Creedence Clear Water Revival. I go to the gym to work out and listen to my music. From time to time there's a couple of assholes wanting to talk next to me or on his cell phone, or some chatty Kathys, I always warn them that if they talk I sing, if they persist I belt out Innagoddadavida or I'm a Man, Yes I am. I love making noises from drum solos.

There's only one song I can't get, it's from the early seventies, Toast and Marmalade for Tea by Tin Tin. Spotify has it only as an instrumental. It's on Wikipedia, but that doesn't get it on my phone.

Took a trip a couple of weeks ago and had a great time over four days listening to all my favorite songs while dodging 18 wheelers on the highway.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Greed Caused the Civil War


Greed Caused the Civil War

Patrick Prescott

 Tariffs in the 1800’s

All my life I was taught, in Jr. High, High School and College that the issue dividing the North and South was slavery. The north were the good guys and the south the bad guys.

The only reason offered by southerners to defend the south’s right to secede was on the issue of Tariffs, but historians always scoffed at this and dismissed it as an excuse, not a reason. The North won and their point of view prevailed.

In my study of the life of Mattew Fontaine Maury I came upon his reasons for leaving the union and siding with the south. It opened my eyes to how greedy northern merchants were as much responsible for the bloodshed of that war as slave owners.

The first thing that opened my eyes was the association of the word Tariff in today’s context with the time period in question. Actually, the word that best explains the duty placed on the south should be Subsidy.

Today’s meaning of tariff: Example: March 5, 2022, President Trump imposed a 25% tariff on Chinese imports. What this meant was that all goods imported by China in the U. S. were assessed 25% extra in cost. An item normally priced at $100, would be $125. The idea is not to make money for the treasury, but to make the Chinese product more expensive and the American consumer would prefer to buy the American product.

The Tariff of 1816, did not raise the price of British goods. It taxed the southern states 25% on cotton, then gave that money to the northern merchants so they could compete on the open market with England. This is today known as a subsidy.

This is an excerpt from:

 “A Vindication of the South and of Virginia”

By M. F. Maury”

 [After the War of 1812], “it was thought wise to encourage manufacturing in New England, until American Labor could be educated for it and the requisite skill acquired for the establishment of workshops. The Southern statesmen took the lead in the passage of a tariff to encourage and protect the manufacturing industries of the North.

In course of time the restrictive laws in England were repealed… Nevertheless, the protection continued, and was so effectual that the manufacturers of New England began to compete in the foreign markets with the manufacturers of Old England. Whereupon the South said “Enough...” the Atlantic Ocean rolls between this country and Europe; the expense of freight and transportation across it, with moderate duties for revenue alone, ought to be the protection enough for these Northern industries. Therefore, let us do away with tariffs for protection. They have not, by reason of geographical laws, turned a wheel in the South; moreover, they have proved a grievous burden to our people.”

The Tariff of 1816 exacted 25% of all cotton to be exported abroad and the money put into the pockets of Northern Merchants. This was agreed to by the Southern leaders as a temporary measure to increase industry and fair trade.

The Tariff of 1824 increased the tariff to 30%. This was not agreed to by the Southern States, it was not needed and certainly adding an extra 5% was excessive, but by this time the Northern and Western States could outvote the South.

The Tariff of 1828 became known as the Tariff of Abomination. It placed the amount to 40%. At this point South Carolina and other states started passing laws to nullify the tariff. Andrew Jackson became president in 1829 and threatened a military invasion if any state refused to pay the tariff.

The compromise Tariff of 1833 began a 2% reduction of the tariff rate until it was down to 20% by 1842.

I want to emphasize here that the Northern Merchants were not only competing on an even playing field with England in 1824, but because of the Monroe Doctrine had almost exclusive rights with Central and South America. They were also expanding into the Pacific and Asia. The theft, (what else could you call it?) from southern cotton was an added bonus, but there is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution. The merchants liked their subsidy even though they didn’t need it.

Again, quoting Maury:

Moreover, peace, progress, and development had, dictated Free Trade as the true policy of all nations. Our senators proceeded to demonstrate by the example of hardships of submitting any longer to tariffs for protection. In their arguments they quoted examples to this effect—The Northern farmer clips his hundred bales of wool, and the Southern planter picks his hundred bales of cotton. So far, they are equal, It went further—re-protected the industry of one section and taxed that of the other… And now came the injustice and the grievance. They both, so the case was made to run, preferred the Charleston market; each with his invoices of one hundred bales, to the Custom House. There the Northern man is told he may land his hundred bales duty free, but the Southern man is required to leave forty of his for the privilege of landing the remaining sixty.

The Real Burden of the Tariff

Here I come to another eye-opening moment. History books always wonder why the poor farmer with no slaves or only a few would go and fight for the plantation owners with large land holdings and many slaves? This is a fallacy.

How many farmers today could live off of only 60% of the crop they produced?

The plantation owners resented the loss of profits, but still lived a life of wealth. It was the small farmer who needed the whole 100% of the fruits of his labors to turn a profit! They shouldered the burden. The tariff kept them poor and barely and on a subsistence level.

Northern and Western farmers were not taxed like this. This is expressly forbidden in the Constitution.

Section 10 states:

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.

 Notice the constitution says taxes shall go to the treasury, not the pockets of Northern Merchants.

 In 1840 when the Compromise Tariff was down to 24% Maury says:

  Fifteen years before the war, it was stated officially from the Treasury Department at Washington, that under the tariff then in force the self-sustaining industry of the country was taxed in this indirect way in the sum of $80,000,000 annually, none of which went into the coffers of the Government, but all into the pocket of the protected manufacturer.

Thus, dealt by, there was a cumulative dissatisfaction in the Southern mind towards the Federal Government, and the Southern men began to ask each other, “Should we not be better off out of the Union than we are in it?”

The south rose up because the northern and western farmers weren’t singled out like them. They saw this not as a way of helping their northern merchants in need, but as it was—a sin tax. Slavery was a part of the issue. It was the way for the north's to justify the unfair taxation placed on the south… 

the result of all this Federal partiality, of this unequal protection and encouragement, was that New England and the North fattened upon the tribute forced from the South and prospered as few people have ever done.


Today all history books state that this had a moral cause to end slavery. Not even the Crusades in the middle ages were a moral cause. All wars have as their basis greed. More land, more raw natural resources, tribute, that is what causes wars.

It was the tribute demanded from the south to Northen Merchants that caused the war.

The south was treated as second class citizens, why would they want to stay in such a country and be taxed so unfairly and unconstitutionally?

 All quotes of Matthew Fontaine Maury come from:

 Corbin, Diana Fontaine, A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury, U.S.N. & C.S.N. Published 1888, Published as E-book on Amazon by Good Earth Press reproduced from original text and artwork January 3, 2013.

 This book contains almost all of Diana’s father’s speeches, articles, and other writings in their entirety. A valuable resource.

 These quotes and more are in: I Maury: The Life and Times of a Rebel

Available as e-book and paperback on Amazon



Wednesday, June 21, 2023

WC062123: Things I like/dislike about the Romance Genre


Things I like/dislike about the Romance Genre.

My wife and daughter went crazy over Bridgerton. We faithfully watch every episode of every season on Netflix, and in order to save money I bought every e-book in the series (nine at last count) and let them get on my Amazon account to read them on their readers. Otherwise, they would both have bought them, and they are not cheap.

Soooo... What do I like about Romance novels?

1. I like the historical settings, if done right. The history has to be based in reality. Get the time period right. It gives great insight into the life and times of the place and time period.

2. The social restrictions of the day and how the heroine of the story either conforms or rebels against them.

3. Attitudes of men concerning women in all ages.

4. The elusive striving for love and happiness.

5. Not all, but many have sex as the hook for the reader. This sometimes has rape or at least coercive sex, not necessarily physical abuse, but other ways of pressuring a woman to consent that today I find at least on WC women are finding offensive

6. Gone With The Wind is a prime example here. The scene in the book and movie when Rhett has had enough of Scarlet refusing him, he picks her up, and carries her up the staircase. That was considered very romantic until recently and now I have read women claiming this is rape culture. The fact that it includes slavery is now putting it on the banned books list.

What I dislike about Romance books 

1. Sometimes the sex can be too blatant or repetitive. Anne Rice's Beauty series becomes too pornographic and treats romance as roadkill.

Jean Auel's Clan of the Caveman series has rape in the first book, but the other books the sex becomes so repetitive I grew bored and skipped them. She must have cut and pasted the scenes whenever she decided to spice up the story between describing fauna and flora.

2. Sometimes what women consider romance is not what I consider it to be.

In college literature class we read The Horse Dealer's Daughter, by D.H. Lawrence. In class I was called upon to tell the plot. I responded by saying a man see's a woman walk into a lake trying to drown herself. He rushes in, takes her to her home and while drying off she attacks him by putting her arms around his legs and not letting him go.

Mrs. C. became indignant and said, Mr. Prescott you may have considered she attacked him, but this is considered to be one of the most romantic stories in English literature."

I stand by my response.

3. For some reason there's a trope involving a stalker. Either the woman is being stalked or in the Fifty Shades trilogy the man is being stalked.

4. Somehow a man can do just about anything if he's rich enough. It's always romantic with a Billionaire, used to be millionaire, but inflation has hit.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Compromise with Walmart

 Thursday DVD player died. I went to Wally World and ran into a difficulty. The one I bought was broken and they would not refund my money. Had a sleepless night with adrenaline coursing through my veins.

Finally cooled down and wrote this letter to the store:

To: Manager Aaron,

2550 Coors BLDV NW

Albuquerque, NM 87120


Dear Sir,


On June 15, 2023, I purchased a Sony DVD player in your store. I requested the salesclerk in Electronics to get the player out of the glass case it was stored in. She rang up the sale (see receipt 1 attached) and then saw that it had a reduced price on it.

She directed me to the service department to correct the problem. At the service department the clerk refunded the first purchase price and rang up the other price. (See receipts 2 and 3). The player was taped but did have hole in the front of the box.

I took the player home and found that the on/off button was broken. The remote had batteries in it which I replaced. The remote turned the machine on with a blue light visible, but it would not open the DVD tray. The button on the machine would not open the tray. This made the machine inoperable.

Returning to the store I expected to get a refund for a machine not in working order. I was informed that at the purchase I was told it was “AS IS” and not refundable. I do not remember hearing the salesclerk saying this. I was naturally upset for having paid nearly ninety dollars for a broken machine that was useless. A few words were spoken, but I did not utter any obscenities, though they did enter my mine and still do.

Under the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code: Section 2-314: 2 Goods to be merchandisable must be at least such are, c) are fit for the ordinary purpose for the which goods are used, d) run, within the variations permitted by the agreement of the even kind,…

In layman’s terms this means if I buy a DVD Player and it does not play DVD’s this violates the implied warranty of the product.

To insist that a product that is purchased is not refundable when there is the reasonable expectation that it will work as expected is illegal. This was not a scratch and dent defect, it was broken at the time of sale, and that is not covered by “All Sales Final.”

The item I bought was not on a table with a sign marked it as all sales final. I did not hear the words “All sales final,” because if I did, I would not have bought it.

I was willing to buy the player as new at the new price, as sales receipt 1 indicates. I am willing to buy this product if it is new at the full retail price, by paying the extra $29.36 if the $88.09 already paid is applied.

Your benefit is the sale of a product and a satisfied customer.

Took it to the store.

I now have a new DVD player and am content to have settled the matter.




Tuesday, June 13, 2023

WC061423: What I love about being a blogger/reader


Today's challenge is What I love about being a blogger/reader.

Most of the blogs I read and comment on are about books and reading. Two birds with one stone.

I enjoy telling some things about me and my likes and dislikes concerning books and learning about the likes and dislikes of other bloggers.

This challenge has been my mainstay for the last few years for most of blog posts. I still post musings and other things on my mind, but that's only when I'm between writing on my next novel or anthology of short stories.

I have a good friend in Yogi, who I recently discovered he was a year behind me in high school. Blogging for years and on FB and didn't know.

Berthold has been a really good blogging friend over the years. I've read and given him advice on his writing and he's done the same for me. He's a constant source of books I'd never have heard of and have enjoyed.

I met Lydia through Berthold and she got me interested in Top Ten Tuesday and Wednesday Challenge.

I've been a voracious reader all my life and haven't let up. Today my eyes get tired easily even with a large font on an e-reader, so I'm switching to audio books. It drives my wife crazy when she wants to talk to me and I have to turn off the book on my phone, and it runs my hearing aids battery down real fast, but mostly I enjoy listening and rest my eyes. Allergies are bad this year. 

I made the mistake of downloading a Game of Thrones book. The narrator is horrible and when Martin goes three or four pages on the lineage of ancient kings and kingdoms it's easier to just skip pages than fast forwarding the whole chapter.

It's good to be retired so when I'm not waging war on goat heads, tumble weeds, milk weeds and other unwanted plants in my yards; I can read, listen and write to my hearts content, until my wife wants me to go shopping with her.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

WC060723: Older books other people should read


Today's challenge is: Older books other people should read. I'm altering the challenge to not just older books, but older authors as well.

Anything and everything by Isaac Asimov.

Also I'll add Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert and many other great science fiction authors.

All of Dr. Seuss, especially the ones that they are trying to ban. 

Absolute best for understanding how prosecutors assemble the evidence and dissect it to discover motive and then prove it in court. Bugliosi has other books out as well.

Anything and everything by Harlan Ellison.

The mother of modern science fiction. She imagined galactic empires, stargates, and much more we take for granted today.

Don't forget the classics. 

Nonfiction is important too. Be it science, medicine, psychology, or history never stop learning.