i A Time and a Place...: June 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Only In America...

I got this in an e-mail and think it cute enough to pass on!

Only in America...do drugstores make the sick walk all the way
to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy
people can buy cigarettes at the front!

Only in America...do people order double cheeseburgers, large
fries and a diet coke!

Only in America...do banks leave both doors open and then chain
the pens to the counters!

Only in America...do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in
the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage!

Only in America...do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns
in packages of eight

Only in America...do we use the word 'politics' to describe the
process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning
'bloodsucking creatures'!

Only in America...do they have drive-up ATM machines with
Braille lettering!


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why you never see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery?"

Why "abbreviated" is such a long word?

Why doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing
liquid made with real lemons?

Why the man who invests all your money is called a broker?

Why the time of day with the slowest traffic is called rush hour?

Why there isn't mouse-flavored cat food?

Why Noah didn't swat those two mosquitoes?

Why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes?
Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?


Saturday, June 24, 2006

106 degrees f - in the Shade...

Donna and I went to Redding and had lunch at the Hometown Buffett. On the way back, we stopped and explored the new Super Walmart Store at Anderson. After walking around for an hour or so and making a few purchases, we headed on back to Red Bluff. It was 101 degrees when we left Walmart.

We turned off at the Antelope Blvd exit and headed for the house. At the street where we turn left to go to mi casa (a little Mex lingo there) on the right is a hardware and lumber store. In front of the store and back a ways west is a great big sign that gives the time of day and temperature.

It's electric and flashes back and forth from the temp to the time.

As I was pulling up to the turning lane, the temp light flashed 103 and the time was 1:03. I stopped in the turn lane and the time turned to 1:04 and the temp flashed 104 degrees.

We waited there for a time for the oncoming traffic to clear so we could turn off and the time flashed 1:05 and immediately the temp flashed 105 degrees.

Donna turned pale and screamed, "Go, Jim, Go... damn it, let's go!"

It startled me and I hit the gas and squirted across the lane, barely missing an on-coming car and made our street all right.

I asked Donna what the heck that was all about and she stammered, "Didn't you see how that sign changed the time and temperature at the same time-you know,-103 degrees and 1:03 pm-104 degrees and 1:04 pm,-then 105 degrees and 1:05 o'clock? " I owned as how I did notice that and Donna, in her very logical manner of thinking said matter of factly, "I wanted to make sure we weren't still sitting there when it turned 2:00 pm. I'd have melted."

Female logic. It makes sense to her so I guess I can live with it, too!


Friday, June 23, 2006

Connie Podesta Says...

"Life would be easy if it weren't for other people."


A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread---and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness--

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

All in the Name of Adventure...

When I lived in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1957 to 1959, I hauled pipe to different places in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming and a couple of times to the four corners area, where the corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet.

The main route I took was south out of Pueblo, through Raton, New Mexico and on through either Clayton, N. M. or through Boise City, Oklahoma.

The Boise City route was the most interesting. There was a road for trucks (truck route) that went around the town on the west side that we had to take so we didn't drive our loaded trucks through the busy part of town.

Just at the south end of the truck route, there was a small street that led away from the main highway. Someone told us that it was a shortcut so we took it. The first time we took the 'shortcut' there were three of us with loads of pipe. The loads weighed about 38,000 pounds each, the load limit for our particular combination of truck/trailer/axles/loads.

We turned west on the road and drove for about four or five miles until we came to a creek. The creek had some water in it and had a bridge crossing it. The bridge was about a hundred yards long and was 15 or 20 feet above the creek bed. It was made out of 4X4s and 10X12s and other sizes of timbers. They were latticed together down to the creek bed and I'm here to tell you, folks, that bridge didn't look like anything I would use at the age I am now! Not even with my pickup, empty!

But there we were, at the 'shortcut' bridge with three loaded trucks, quickly possibly becoming late instead of early.

We were young in those days and, according to each of us if we had been asked, we were fearless! I was lucky enough to be the middle truck. I considered it lucky because, if the first truck made it across all right, there was a good chance that I, too, could make it safely.
On the other hand, if the first truck wound up in a puddle in the creek bed with bridge descending down upon him, I could easily beg off because of the lack of a
bridge on which to attempt a crossing, and besides, I would be too busy rescuing the first driver to worry about how I'd get across the creek.

In those days crying 'uncle' wasn't an option so the only conversation we had was deciding how fast to proceed across the bridge. It was long enough so that the entire truck would be on the span for what would undoubtedly seem like an eternity. Or the driver could get a run at it, hit it at high speed and pray the bridge would hold up for the short time it took to get to the other side. That logic was that if the bridge started to fall, the momentum built up by the high speed would carry the truck on across before the falling bridge could hit the creek bed below.

After carefully considering each option for about a minute, the driver decided on the slow approach. I volunteered to go below and watch the bridge from that vantage point and signal if it looked like it would collapse. Maybe the driver would have time to get out of the truck and run back to safety. The other driver stayed upstairs and was ready for any eventuality.

The truck pulled out onto the bridge and slowly crept across without incident except for a whole bunch of creaking and groaning and popping from the bridge struts and timbers. I thought the bridge also swayed a bit and I'm sure I dwelt on that particular aspect as I crossed with my truck.

I say I'm sure of that because I can't seem to remember exactly how much later I actually crossed. In fact, I don't remember crossing at all, although I'm sure I did because I distinctly remember driving along awhile later, feeling like I could now live forever.

Well, we all made it all right and it was, in fact, a shortcut. We came back that way, too. And, the weird thing is, we took that same shortcut again the next time we went through Boise City, headed south.

Now the really weird thing is, the next time after that next time, we decided we hadn't actually saved any time after all by taking the 'shortcut' and we never went that way again, purely because it hadn't really saved us any time (we were absolutely sure of that) even though we got to wherever we were going quicker by taking the 'shortcut.' We had probably just driven faster. 'whew'

I know, the logic seems a little weak but that's how I remember it. Anyhow, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Cost Of Working...Something to Think About...

In 1949 I was thirteen years old and working in the oil patch in Odessa, Texas, for B&B Construction Company as a roustabout for Phillips Petroleum. The job was hard sometimes and easy at other times, depending on what we had to do on any given day.

Sometimes I worked in a very oily invironment, on a pulling unit or a swabbing unit or something else that meant I would be getting very oily and dirty. At times, even hooking up a tank battery or heater treater or separator was messy, mostly from oil.

At that time I worked for $1.25 an hour with time and a half for any time over 40 hours a week. Our work week was 5 and 1/2 days long, five ten hour days and half a day on Saturday. So I worked about 55 hours a week and earned about $68.75 before taxes. As I recall, my take home pay was about 61 bucks a week. Now for the fun part!

I'll use a particular week as an example:

This week I worked on a pulling unit. I pulled sucker rods and each time the rods came up, oil from the hole would flow out. My job was taking the end of each rod and pulling it out onto a rack so it would stack neatly as it came out of the hole. As a result, my cotton gloves were saturated with oil.

I used the cheapest gloves I could buy because, no matter what kind of glove I used, they were only good for a day or two and my sister wouldn't let me wash them in her machine so every day or two I had to buy new gloves. It amazes me that I would spend so much money on gloves. I paid a dollar a pair for my gloves. That means I spent around three to four bucks a week for gloves. That's between five and 15 percent of my paycheck after taxes.

Well, 'duh'..you say! So what? - 'What', is this:

The last year I worked full time I earned about $68,000 working 49 weeks. That's between 1100 and 1400 bucks a week.

Yes!--Yes--..Go On! OK-OK! Just hold on!

Well, guess what? Yesterday I bought a pair of cotton gloves just like the ones I bought in 1949...I still paid a buck for them! Isn't that fascinating!

So in 1949 I spent about 7% of my wages on cotton gloves. At the same rate of use today I would spend about .003% of my takehome!

Now I ask you, isn't that interesting? While my rate of pay went up around 2,000 percent, the price of cotton gloves stayed the same! Go figure!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Missile or...Ahh...,This, Too, Soothes the Savage Breast...

Not all out of Persia is bad..." "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of The Lord (Yahweh-Jehovah) spoken by Jeremiah, The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

"The Lord, The God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a Temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build The Temple of The Lord, The God of Israel, The God who is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-3

Then there is Omar Khayyam, the tent maker and poet:

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say:
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobád away.

Well, let it take them! What have we to do
With Kaikobád the Great, or Kaikhosrú?
Let Zál and Rustum bluster as they will,
Or Hátim call to Supper--heed not you.

With me along the strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultán is forgot --
And Peace to Máhmúd on his golden Throne!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hey Buddy, How About a Tow?...

My brother, Thomas,(Buddy) was always a very gutsy fellow who was game for about anything.

I recall one time in Colorado I was driving my truck back to Pueblo where I lived at the time from somewhere in Texas where I had delivered a load of pipe to an oil rig, when my truck ran out of fuel.

It was one of the JH Marks trucks that had an in-line six cylinder butane burning engine. The truck was empty and I had loaded the pole trailer piggy-back onto the tractor like log trucks do. The entire rig weighed about 10 thousand pounds.

As it happened, I ran out of fuel near a small grocery store about ten or so miles from town. Luckily, there was a pay phone in front of the store. It was very early in the morning and still dark, and I didn’t want to wake my wife to come after me because our baby would be asleep so I called my brother, Buddy. He had a 1953 Oldsmobile 98 and I asked him to come out and take me home. Knowing my brother, I should have known he would have something more on his mind than just taking me home.

When he got there, he backed his car up to my truck and drug a chain out of the trunk. He fastened one end of the chain to the front of the truck and the other to the back bumper bracket of his car and told me to get in the truck. He asked me if the trucks' air tanks had air left in them and I told him they did.
He said he’d pull my truck in to the truck yard and to not use the brakes unless I absolutely had to. I wasn’t crazy about the idea and I tried to talk him out of it but to no avail so I did as I was told. He got into his car and started to very gently pull the truck.

It was a crazy idea but it worked. I only used the brakes a couple of times, going down small hills and going around curves to get into the yard, and Bud didn’t go over about 15 or 20 miles an hour.
Being very early in the morning, there was almost no traffic, only a few cars, and before long, we pulled into the truck yard.

He stopped me in front of the butane storage tank and we unhooked my truck from his car. Then I fueled the truck and cranked it to make sure it would start and parked it next to the fence in its' parking place.

It was Sunday morning and now getting daylight and we didn't have to work that day so we went to the truck stop and I bought us breakfast. We each had a stack of hot cakes and an order of ham and eggs, over easy, and a pot of coffee. We ate and drank coffee and had a good laugh about the whole thing. Then he took me home. It was quite an experience.

That was only one of many wonderful experiences my brother and I had together.


Monday, June 12, 2006

What Do You Thnk Of Your Lawn With Its' New Fence?...

.....I asked Chico the Wonder Dog.

He lifted his left leg, leaned forward a tad and looked at me, "Does this answer your question?" It did.


Whatta Ya Gonna Do...

Donna went to the store yesterday to "look around." Sure she did. When she came back, she carried in a couple of small packages, not enough to need my help carrying, even though I offered. 'Strange,' I thought to myself. OK, maybe this time the bill will be inconsequential. Sure it will, I reiterated silently.

In a couple of moments (or 'minutes', whichever you prefer) I found something pressing outside and found myself walking out the back door. (which opens into the carport) At first nothing caught my attention. Then a furtive (I was
expecting the 'worst'-good word,
worst, as is 'furtive') glance downward from the stairwell (I've always wanted to use that word, 'stairwell') told me something that hadn't been there before was, indeed, there. (another great word) -'All right, cut the bull and get to the story!' OK.

It was a bundle of white, wire fencing. The sections were about a foot high so the entire package didn't weigh more than a few pounds so Donna hadn't, as she stated, needed my help carrying anything. She must have been tired, though, because she left it out of sight at the foot of the stairwell. (Actually, they are merely 'steps' but 'stairwell' sounds so much more impressive).... OK-OK, I'm getting there!

I axed her why she had bought this fence and she said, "To go around Chico the Wonder Dogs' lawn". I reminded her that the lawn already had a fence around it and she stated that the present fence was 'all crooked'. I queried, why not just straighten it and she retorted, 'because'. That was good enough for me and it made sense to her so I tucked the bundle of an entire ten foot fence under my right arm and carried it around the house to the lawn.

Chico the Wonder Dog looked the bundle over but was silent. Both Chico the Wonder Dog and I retired to the great room to watch a sporting event while Donna spent the next seventeen minutes building the fence.

In another while, we went out back to take a look. I was stunned speachless but Chico the Wonder Dog was not. "What the crap was this all about?" he 'looked' at me? (dogs have to 'look' at you because, as you know, they can't talk)
I looked back at him, "Donna needed something to do." He just shook his head and looked at me, "There was nothing wrong with the old fence. Next she'll want to plant the damn Yucca plant back here and it's got sharp spines sticking out on it." Then, with a shake of his head, Chico the Wonder Dog repaired to his bed.

And I went back inside to the toilet to, among other things, finish a crossword puzzle. Women,-go figure them.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Another Good Day At The Mine...

I went to 'the creek' yesterday and did a bit of gold panning and did alright (all right). I went to a place I had worked many times before. The water is down so all of (al'of) the area that had produced good gold in the past is exposed. I meant to work a spot upstream (up the stream) but there was a pool of standing water covering it. I'll try there in a couple of months when the water had evaporated.

I started cleaning around a chunk of bedrock that protruded (stuck up) fron the creek bed about three inches. First I dug the looser material from around the rock (protuberance) and, since the protuberance only protruded a few inches, it took only a few minutes.

I poured the material into a five gallon bucket, through a sizing screen that stopped bigger rocks from going into (in to) the bucket. Then I took it and my gold pan to the water and panned it out. I got a bit of gold in that pan.

The best piece of gold I got was from prying a piece of the bed rock (bed-rock) from the main rock and cleaning out from there. Lodged between the pieces were two nice 'pickers'.

It was hotter 'n you-know-where so, after a couple of hours, I went home. All in all, it was a great day. I spent only eighteen bucks (fuel for my Cummins Powered Diesel Engined Three-Quarter Ton Pickup) to find four dollars and 97 cents worth of gold. But I got some good exercise and lost a pound and enjoyed the outing so it was worth it!

Whether at Naishápúr or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one...


Saturday, June 10, 2006

"Seeing machine" offers legally blind view of world"...

What a wonderful way to start the day!...Imagine having been legally blind for years and then one day, hearing a knock on your door and 'peering' out to 'see' someone with a small box in his hand and hearing her say, "I can make you see again!"

I have a friend who is legally blind, but probably not blind enough for this machine to help him much. But I know what pain comes with being, even slightly, blind.

Kudos to Elizabeth Goldring, A legally blind poet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has designed a "seeing machine.

Now I'm off to the creek!


Friday, June 09, 2006


...and I quote:
"I have decided, mainly because the Rubaiyat is one of my favorite pieces of literature, to insert a Quatrain (verse) or two into each daily (or whenever) post instead of posting the entire missile. A friend of mine in the bog does this with a cartoon and it seems not to take away from the impact of his astute observations. I will use my own book, the fifth edition of the translation of the Rubaiyat by Edward Fitzgerald from which to extract Quatrains."

Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
And Jamshýd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
But still a Ruby gushes from the Vine,
And many a Garden by the Water blows.

And David's lips are lockt; but in divine
High-piping Péhlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!"
Red Wine!"--the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That sallow cheek of hers to incarnadine.

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.


The Best DeFence...

I usually reserve this blog for things on the lighter vein but I got this article on my daily subscription of "Daily Dose" and thought it interesting enough to pass on.

In the last two Daily Doses, I've laid out for you not only the frightening statistics showing how large a problem illegal immigration is, but how frighteningly out of touch our leaders (both foreign and domestic) are with what John Q. Public wants in the way of counter measures...

In my closing for the last article, I promised to tell you the steps we NEED to take to stop the impending economic disaster illegals represent -- and why we won't do them. Here goes:

The construction of Israel's trenches-and-wire border fence reduced the influx of foreign terrorists by more than 95%. Politicians say it'll cost too much, but even at its most expensive (an estimated $8 billion, tops -- about 2.5 months worth of our war effort in Iraq), it would be cheaper than the negative lifetime economic impact of just 1.5% of the illegals already in this country.

Why we won't do it:
Building a wall creates relatively few jobs, and only for a limited amount of time. But radically expanding the border patrol and the INS could create tens, even hundreds of thousands of new jobs -- kind of like all those useless airport screening agents we have pawing through our luggage now. These jobs mean tax revenue, plus a nice bragging point (job creation) for any politician involved in the effort.

Making it a felony for anyone in America to hire an illegal immigrant would go a long way toward discouraging those bent on hopping the border to make a living. If the money river dries up, the "fish" will swim back from whence they came.

Why we won't do it:
Too many industries (landscaping, golf course maintenance, restaurant, custodial, construction, etc.) are already dependent on illegal workers for their profit margins. Prohibiting them would stall huge segments of the economy overnight, and no politician wants that on his resume`.

Simply by virtue of their presence in this country, illegal immigrants are entitled to emergency health care, police and fire protection, and every right to privacy, liberty, and due process of law that all American citizens are entitled to. Many states grant them driver's licenses, and many have mortgages and credit cards. Beyond this, their children, even if born 1 minute after illegally crossing the border, enjoy full U.S. citizenship, along with all the perks.

Why we won't do it:
A hard-line stance on benefits for illegals could sway the legitimate Hispanic population of the U.S. to vote against candidates. No politician from either party wants to lose their chance at wooing this pivotal voting demographic.

Doing just these three things would neutralize the illegal immigrant threat almost overnight. If we did these things, we wouldn't even NEED to make illegal entry or occupancy a crime (another measure being discussed by Republicrats). Nor would we have to go through the costly process of mass deportations.

If illegals found they couldn't work, get benefits, or guarantee their unborn automatic citizenship, they'd go home and make Mexico all it could be (which was the goal of the all-but defunct NAFTA).

Repeated surveys have shown that the vast majority (as much as 87%) of Americans favor the construction of a fence or wall along the entirety of the U.S./Mexico border. Other surveys have shown similar degrees of support among the American populace for the other measures I've mentioned -- especially the establishment of English as the official language, a concept I touched on in part 2 of this essay...

But all this evidently means nothing to our elected officials, including our President.
For them, the soul of America is secondary to votes, cheap labor, tax revenue, and the opportunity to expand government (and their own power) through entitlements like welfare, healthcare, and education assistance.

And so, instead of a return to the fairness and uniquely American concept of large-scale LEGAL immigration and assimilation -- one of the pillars of greatness this nation is built upon -- we'll end up with a morass of half-measures, none of them effective, and all of them inflating government power while at the same time watering down our once-great entrepreneurial culture into a massive welfare state as stratified by social classes (the "haves" and "have-nots") as any communist country ever was...
Lamenting and dissenting,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Extremes...Cute and Timely...

I read this on someones' blog and thought it was cute enough to pass on on this one!

Two persons sitting side by side using emails to communicate with each other.

Two persons fighting through emails.

Receiving no emails for a week.

The email server being down.

Writing a lov e mail and doing a 'Send All.'

A person sending email to a girl wanting to become friends and getting a reply.

A person sending email to himself.

Forwarding an email to someone and receiving the same email forwarded back to you by some one in the receiving chain.

You are swimming in the water tank and shout "F1 F1 F1?" instead of shouting "HELP" when u are unable to swim.