Monday, December 29, 2014

Benghazi; Bible; 911; Auto Racing; Mama's Lessons; Blood Pressure; Caller ID; Auschwitz; Potbellies; Beer; Breadsticks; Tatoos; Sneezing

40 degrees.. Winter weather.. only 12 more weeks until warmer times!

"Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli."

("The fate of books depends on the capacity of the reader."  Terentianus Maurus ad 200

..or "buy a Kindle!"

Let's see if I can fill up an hour with cogent observation:

01.  Benghazi again.

The Week says that a Republican-lead congressional panel quietly exonerated the White House of any wrongdoing related to the Benghazi attack.  Whoever, House Speaker, John Boehner is planning to reappoint another House committee to reconvene a new investigation.  I wonder what it takes to get the Republicans to stop making fools of themselves in this regard?

02.  The Bible Tells Me So...

Texas once again:  New State approved textbooks say that the U.S. Constitution was based on the Bible.  Thomas Jefferson would say that you are "crazy as hell" if you think that is the case.  Old Tom even wrote his own version of the Bible to make Jesus' life more believable.

03.  Follow the rules, neighbor!

When a Florida man tried to get a neighbor to help him put out a small fire in his house, the neighbor told him to "get lost" and call 911.  By the time the firefighters got there, the small house fire had progressed enough to destroy the whole house.  By the way, his neighbor was an off-duty fireman.

04.  The Lord will protect me.

Televangelist Pat Robertson likes to push his automobile to 100 mph.  God must be his co-pilot.

05.  Things my mother taught me:

This is from the Funny Times for January 2015, and was written by M.D.Rosenberg:

My mother taught me foresight:

"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

My mother taught me about anticipation:

"Just wait until  your father comes home!"

My mother taught me about justice:

"Someday you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.!"

06.  High Blood Pressure

Harvard Medical School says that there is some disagreement over the best target blood pressure in older people taking pressure-powering medications.  Recommendations:

Adults age 60 and over with high blood pressure: aim for 150/90

Adults age 30 to 59 with high blood pressure: aim for 140/90

Adults with diabetes or chronic kidney disease: aim for 140/90

07.  Caller ID

In October 2014, AARP told us not to trust "Caller ID", because it can be manipulated to display whatever name or phone number that the scammer chooses.   Why didn't I know this?

Some of the calls I receive show the following in my "caller ID".       "Joe Vaughan"  (hey, that's me!"  How the devil did they do that, because I definitely did not call myself?)

How about the following on my caller ID..  "000000000"   ?

Also.. "Unknown", or a State name, or such?

08.  Harper's Index

From Harper's Magazine, by way of the Funny News in January 2015:

a. In December 2014, a 93 year old former guard at Auschwitz was charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.

b. Potbellies on Americans has increased 17% since 2000.

c. None of the top ten best-selling beers in the United States  are owned by us.

d. Olive Garden serves breadsticks to customers, but not all are eaten, and this results in a loss of five million dollars a year for that restaurant.

09.  Tatoo

The Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Winter 2014 reports that Joseph David Burgoyne, aged 28, has the slogan "CWB" (Crazy White Boy) tattooed on his neck. CWB is a reference to a white supremacist street gang.

10.  Response

Kendra Turner, 18, said "Bless You" when another student sneezed.. and got suspended for using "Godly language" in class.

................Enough for now.....................................

Monday, December 22, 2014

Carroll County Maryland Politics; Net Neutrality; Manson; Barbosa

Cold... well it is now Winter, for crying out loud!

No time for a poem or quote.. I have just 45 minutes to plug some stuff into this blog entry.

01.  Republican Activity in Maryland

Flushed with victory, incoming Republican Governor Larry Hogan has appointed Carroll County's Republican Senator, Joe Getty, to serve as Senate Minority Leader and Legislative Expert.  Now there will have to be a pick by the Republicans of a smiling light to fill Getty's spot.

The Carroll County Times reminds us of a minor feud between Getty and Susan Krebs.  Everybody loves Lion Susan Krebs, but in my opinion, she seems like a "party hack" who  serves as a Charlie McCarthy to whoever is the current Republican Edgar Bergen. (In another blog entry, I will outline her plans to derail anything that the Democrats or moderate Republicans hope to accomplish, now, or in the future.  Since she says things exactly like every other member of the Carroll County Republican Club, I predict a distinctly negative outlook to her service in Maryland's legislative body next year.)

02.  Mitch hits another homerun!

In another article in the Carroll County Times, Mitch Edelmann gave us the "straight poop" on "net neutrality".. I wish that I had reached him earlier to be the Social Security Alumni Association's voice.  He certainly has a gift.

03. Love comes to a killer

Charles Manson is now 80 years old and has been allowed to get married while serving his life sentence in a California State Prison.

04.  Another Killer revisited.

I've written before about my run-in with Joe Barboza, New Bedford's own mob hitman.  Remember?  He ratted on his confidents in the New England Mafia and was targeted to get "hit".. However, they didn't succeed until 1976 or so.  I am really surprised that Joe was able to be in this world from 1932 through the 1970's... almost 40 years of brutality and killing.  He probably gets the prize for being one of the world's longest living sociopath.. if not the meanest.

In the 1940's, I visited two  of my friends in their New Bedford house, as I was wont to do quite often, perhaps twice a week.  I just walked in and climbed the three stories to my friends' attic room, and walked right in, as I had done hundreds of times before.  However, this time, in the middle of the room stood a short, fat, mean-looking guy who greeted me with a glare.  He asked who I was, and my friends said I was their friend, who had helped them to become healthy muscular specimens, by wrestling with them and showing them how to exercise with weights.

What was this guy's response?  He didn't talk to them; he turned to me and said: "get lost!"  In other words, he took an instant dislike to me.  And me to him, but I could sense an animal instinct in him, so I decided to leave.. and since my "former friends" did not stop me from leaving, I immediately wrote them out of my life.  And I am really glad that I did.

In a related Kindle book that I am reading, I've learned that in my "friends'" room, they were planning burglaries.  Apparently, these burglaries continued until 1949, when the police arrested Joe Barboza and sent him to prison, for one of his many incarcerations.  I believe that my "friends'" parents recognized the situation early in their relationship with Joe and shipped them off to San Francisco and a new life before they could get too involved with Joe.

It is hard for me to understand a person like Joe Barboza.. a human being with no regard for the life of another human.  Thank God that he didn't like me.  My slightly bad life turned around for me in that confrontation, and I did "turn over a new leaf", so to speak.

Well, I've rattled about for 45 minutes and I have to go get supper ready for Elaine.  See ya!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wedding of Bridget Vaughan and Erik Fetzer

50 ish today.. 40 ish yesterday

"May your life be long and happy,
And your cares and  worries few;
May the many friends around you
Prove faithful, fond and true.
And may your life-long voyage
   Be as happy and as free
As the dancing waves on the deep blue sea!"

My update of a Massachusetts whaler's toast to the married couple, Bridget and Erik.

Yesterday was a remarkable day!  It was Bridget and Erik's wedding at the Cloisters, a castle in the woods. Let me give you a "blow by blow" of the day's events.

But first, for the benefit of future genealogists, let me mention the other folks that were there from the Bride's side of the invited guests:

Chris and Kathleen Vaughan (Father and Step Mother of the Bride)
Kaitlin and Bjorn May (Sister and brother in law of the Bride.)
Kathleen's mother and her date (name?)
Elizabeth and Will Murphy (Aunt and Uncle of the Bride)
Diane and John Cole (Aunt and Uncle of the Bride)

 (segue: check out JohnnyCole on YouTube.. also John and his son, Jackson, have a gig coming    up.. John on his guitar and Jackson on drum and piano... don't miss it!)

Joe Vaughan and Elaine Lottes (grandfather of the bride and his partner)
Dylan and Jackson Cole (Cousins of the Bride)
Sean Murphy and his date (name?)  (Cousin of the Bride)
Adrienne Burrell (Cousin of the Bride)
Heather Clark and her date (name?) (Cousin of the Bride)
Danielle Clark and her son, Cameron Coates (Cousin and 2nd cousin of the bride)
Emily Leffler Schulman and daughter, Lily. (Elaine Lottes' daughter and granddaughter)
Mat Leffler Schulman and son, Luka.  (Elaine Lottes' son in law and grandson.)
Kathleen and Reverend Scott Clagg (The Bride's mother and step father.)
Donna Tripp and Gil DeSantos.  (Joe Vaughan's sister from New Bedford and her boy-friend.)

I'm sure that I've forgotten some people.. sorry about that.. but I'm an old dude and that is to be expected.


My grandson, Dylan, lugged in the container with the wedding gifts from the car in the parking lot.. he didn't even huff or puff.. I had almost died getting it into the car earlier.  Dylan says that he lugs lots of heavier boxes everyday at his Home Depot job.  (Jackson supervised.)

Close relatives sat on the stage and the other guests were in the audience.  Interesting arrangement.

Bjorn accompanied Kathleen to the stage.
Mr. Fetzer accompanied his wife to the stage.
Somehow, Erik got to the stage.  (I don't think there was a best man.)

The preacher lady performed a beautiful ceremony, and vows were exchanged.  Lots of pictures.
The newly married couple kissed and were presented to the audience. (Handkerchiefs were wet.)

After an Open Bar and hors d'eouvres time (tasty meat balls and marvelous crab dip.. I congratulated  the guy who made the crab dip and he said the secret is the sweet crab claw meat.. I wished that I could have sat there all day pigging out on the dip), .. but speech time had begun.

Chris gave a tear-jerking father speech, followed by one by Erik's sister, who is so happy to now have a sister, Bridget, to take the place of the sister that Erik was supposed to be when he was born.  (Wet handkerchiefs continued.)

Next, it was my turn.. I started to talk about the picture of a beautiful red-head that her memere always had posted to the refrigerator.. and how, now, Bridget looked even more beautiful than that picture.. but I teared up (as I thought that perhaps her memere might just be watching from somewhere "above") and instead recited my New Bedford-type toast, followed by a question:

Now that Bridget and Erik have said their two word "I DO!" phrases, there is another two-word phrase that they need to be aware of, because the use of it can help keep their marriage peaceful for 80 or more years.   I asked the audience what that phrase was...  shouted back at me was:  "I'm sorry!", "Love You!", "Help me!", and some others.. but, I did not hear the phrase that I wanted to hear:  "Yes, Dear!"  (Elaine taught me that, and I am grateful to her for that.)

After speeches, we partook of a nice meal of steak, green beans, garlic potatoes, and Caesar salad.. plus something else that I didn't try.  (A very nice spread.. and the steak was raw, the way I like it.)

With our tummies full... the DJ began to entice folks to the dance floor.. lots of music.  I made a boo-boo by saying I thought the singer was Jim Croce... it was Elton John..  I shut up for the rest of the music.  Lots of dancing... I didn't know how good a dancer Dylan was.  Amazing!  Other very active dancers were my sister, Donna, Elizabeth and Diane... and all of the female Fetzer clan, including the little 3-year old charmer. 

Elaine and I were able to dance (kind of) a couple of times.. we'll have to work on that.  I was able to contribute to the Apron to dance with my granddaughter, Bridget.. but only for a very short time.. I am a very teary grandfather.

Elaine and I left after Erik and Bridget disappeared in a limo.  All in all.. a wonderful happy day.  One could not ask for a better one!


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

George Washington

Cold rainy days... get used to it, Joe.

"I had rather be right than be President."
Henry Clay (1777-1852)  To Senator Preston of South Carolina.. 1839.

I have much to talk about.. much has been happening to me since my last blog entry... however, I'm going to segue for a while.

I found a book at a yard sale for the astronomical price of 5 cents.  Facts and Fun about the Presidents by George Sullivan in 1987.   I want to extract a few facts from that book.  Most of them surprised me quite a bit.  I also want to mention a couple of President Washington's quotes.

01.  George Washington (President Number 1)  1789-1797

George's salary - $25,000. 

George was 6 feet 2 inches tall.

George was the first president whose likeness appeared on a U.S. postage stamp, which was issued in 1847.

Washington was inaugurated in New York for his first term; and Philadelphia for his second.

Washington was born in Virginia.

By the time he was 57 years old, he had lost all of his teeth. (Take a trip to Mount Vernon, where you can find out about George's dental problems, and view his false teeth.)

George's birthday:  February 22, 1732.

George  Washington did not attend college.

George Washington had no children. (However, at Mt Vernon, there is a statue of him and Martha with children... ??)

George liked to eat, and his favorite menus were:

     Cream of Peanut Soup;
     Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut;
     String beans with Mushrooms;
     Martha Washington's whiskey cake.

George is found on the $1 bill; and his name graces a State called Washington and a city called Washington, DC.

Washington was a military leader, surveyor and farmer. He was also an excellent horseman.

George Washington bred hounds and treated them like members of his family.  Some male dogs' names: Drunkard, Tarter and Trueman.  Some female dogs' names: Duchess, True Love and Sweet Lips. 

George was known as the Father of His Country, the Sage of Mount Vernon, and the Surveyor President. 

Parson Weems, in 1800, quotes Washington to his father:  "Father, I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet."

In his farewell address in 1796: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."

In Spark's Life of Washington (1839).. Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour: "Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience."

Bonne Nuit, George.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Lamb and lambs; Kardashian; Speed Cameras; Money

Rainy am; sunny pm.  50ish. 

"Some cry up Haydn, some Mozart,
Just as the whim bites.  For my part,
I do not care a farthing candle
For either of them, or for Handel."

Charles Lamb: Letter to Mrs William Hazlitt (1830)

Poor Mr Lamb, he missed a lot.

01.  Speaking of lambs.. If God is all benevolence, why all the senseless cruelty to "lambs" of our world by the "lions" of our world?

William Buckland had it all figured out early in the 19th Century:  He considered that although the depredation of the "carnivorous races" would seem to be a challenge to the ideal of the lion cohabiting with the lamb, God, in His wisdom, decreed that carnivores would actually increase animal enjoyment and diminish pain, by causing a swift and relatively painless end to a lamb's life.  This would spare the victim the "ravages of decrepitude and senility".. and the possibility of running out of food and starving to painful death.  Thus, the lamb that is spared would be able to continue to cavort and graze with it's buddies.. (for a time) ..  while the lion, lounging, his tummy full, would offer a prayer of thanksgiving for God's bounty.

02.  Dress like Kim and suffer the consequences.

In Kenya, women who try to dress like Kim Kardashian and other Hollywood types, are being stripped in public and kicked in their genitals.  Apparently, women's rights are not important to some men in that country.

03.  Big Brother is watching you!

According to Chuck Shepherd (Funny Times) one speed camera in Brooklyn, New York recently earned the city $78,000 in just one day, from 1,551 tickets it generated.  (That's one every 20 seconds of an 8 hour day!)

.. and yes, some parking places in New York City are being rented for one million dollars a year!  I guess that is "chump change" to a person who can buy a 3 bedroom condo near Central Park for $22 million dollars.  Members of the WalMart family could afford to buy hundreds of those condos and not even make a dent in their ready cash funds.