My blog’s circle of life….

Well I have been blogging almost six hours a day now for several days but it hasn’t been because I was writing new posts. I’ve actually been reinstating my old posts from a data base I had archived that goes back all the way to when I started officially maintaining a blog in 2006.

And a blogger might ask why in the world would I take the time to go back and reinstate all those old posts? Any experienced blogger knows almost no one ever intentionally goes into a bloggers archive listing and reads any of those old posts. Well at best, let’s just say it’s a rare occurrence when it does happen.

I suppose as bloggers go I have been a fairly shameful one, having started and stopped my blogging numerous times over the past eleven years, not to mention several blog name changes along the way to boot.

Sadly, I lost a lot of regular commenters along the way also. Can’t blame them a bit and I have to say many of them I truly miss. But as they say, that’s all water under the bridge at this point.

In essence it would seem I have come full circle if such things could be calculated or construed in such ways. From my very first blog post to this one, which by the way, is not to be presumed as my last, it would seem the journey consisted mostly as a biographical reflection of a life gone by.

And although there may still be a few other reflections of the past peppered in the mix, I think you’ll find the majority to come will be with the challenges and changes with living out ones final days….

Goodbye to my dear dependable good friend….

Yesterday was a bit of a sad day around the old homestead but I suppose even more so today. Yesterday I finally sold my trustworthy and very dependable 1997 Geo Metro that I had purchased brand new back on June 6th of 1997. I have owned that car for just a few months shy of 20 years.

I planned on owning it a lot longer but my health and difficulty in really driving it very much or taking care of it as I should has pretty much dictated that if I cared about the car at all, I needed to get it into the hands of someone who needed a car and would put it to could use. That someone as it turns out to be is the young man who is currently taking care of my lawn care needs. He expressed an interest in it a few days ago so he and his dad came by yesterday and purchased it.

I still have the window sticker that was on the car’s window the day I purchased it. That sticker will now find itself as one of my most cherished souvenirs….

But most of all, I’ll probably feel a tinge of sadness each time I walk outside and see that lonely, empty space where before was parked without a doubt the most dependable car I had ever owned.

The Perk of all Perks…..

I can’t think of a more appropriate time than today when the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI to republish a post I published back in November of 2009 discussing perhaps one of the best jobs one could have ever had in one’s lifetime. And even though I was only with the company a very short time, it was quite the experience to remember and some may even say I need some sort of mental examination given the fact I quit the job….

Originally Published November 16, 2009

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium(Click on image to enlarge)

In late October of 1968 I was stationed at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base which is located near Macon, Georgia. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on November 1st of that year I decided I would travel to Atlanta and see if I could get a job there.

I fortunately found a job quite quickly and ended up working briefly for a company named Baker Audio which was located in Atlanta, Georgia proper. The company, although small, was quite well known for its expertise in the realm of audio and among other things, had put in the sound system in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. This fact was soon to become a blessing in disquise as it turns out.

Not but a week or so after starting to work there my boss asked if I would mind working on an upcoming Sunday for a few hours. He noted that since it was Sunday I would be getting paid double-time. Well, I jumped at the opportunity. Especially given the fact I was only making like $90 a week to begin with. But the best news was yet to come

My boss then began to explain the essence of the job I had just accepted. The company, Baker Audio, had the maintenance and operating contract for the sound system with the Atlanta Stadium and anytime there was an event at the stadium requiring the sound system being used, that a Baker Audio sound system person had to be at the stadium to turn on the system and oversee any problems that might occur. My boss went on to say there was almost never a problem and if there was, they had backup available, normally equated to by simply flipping a switch.

He went on to say that the stadium had two heated and/or air-conditioned glassed-in booths. One was for the “rich and famous” and adjacent to it was the other booth which was for the operator of the electronic scoreboards and for the employees of the sound system company who were maintaining and running the sound system. The main sound system consoles were also located in this booth which is obviously why the employees were allowed in that booth.

On two different Sundays I accompanied my boss to the stadium to fulfill those responsibilities and learn how to turn on and run the system. Those two occasions involved football games being played by the Atlanta Falcon’s football team and their opponent for that week.

What this all meant in layman’s terms was that on the upcoming Sunday I was going to get paid double time for flipping a switch and sitting in a heated, glassed-in booth and watching a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams or in case number two, watching them play the Detroit Lions a few weeks later. Does life suck sometimes or what?

That first Sunday I also found out that I was also allowed in the press area along with being able to partake in the food buffet set up for the press core and attending celebrities. I remember my boss and I getting a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon but everything was pretty much a blur to me. I was just completely mesmerized by the whole thing. Talk about a great job.

Below are a couple of gate passes I kept from the two games where I attended and worked so very, very hard. Some jobs have perks, but I have to say this was the perk of all perks! Being paid double time to watch a football game….at the stadium no less!

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 01a(Click on image to enlarge)

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 02a(Click on image to enlarge)

Believe it or not, I made one of those ‘life decisions’ only two months after taking this job to quit the company and return home to Arkansas. I think in the long run that was a good decision but it goes without saying how often I have thought back about that job and the fact that I could have been paid good money just to sit in a booth, flip a switch, and watch either the Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Braves play their games season after season.

The Tenderness of Motherhood….

Originally Published November 3, 2009

The tenderness of motherhood exists throughout the world we live and we humans, as well as our animal counterparts, seem to honor and exhibit that tenderness of motherhood in exemplary fashion. A tenderness that is exhibited whether it is…..

Motherhood 1On A Riverbank….

Motherhood 2In The Artic….

Motherhood 3On the African Serengeti….

Motherhood 4In the Oceans….

Motherhood 5In the Jungles of India

Or…..

Motherhood 6At a City Park Near You

On the Lighter Side….

This is actually an old post of mine from an earlier blog published in March of 2009. It features two of my favorite videos and I wanted to re-share them. In the first video Conan O’Brien does a little bird-watching and in the second video Christopher Walken gives us a gardening tip.

If you are a die-hard “bird-watcher” with a sense of humor or even, for that matter, just a backyard bird watcher then you need to click on the link below and watch the excerpt video from the Conan O’Brien Show….

And if you are into ‘horticulture’; a plant grower; the green-thumb type, then you certainly don’t want to miss this excerpt from Saturday Night Live. Especially if you like Cactus and you’ll get a great gardening tip! That video link is just below….

Nuisance Dog Barking….

I have an aversion of some magnitude when it comes to barking dogs in my neighborhood.  Although there are numerous dogs in my neighborhood, there are three homes quite near me who have what I have come to define as nuisance dogs.

Yesterday morning at around 7:30 AM one of those dogs which has quite the reputation from my perspective as being one of those three identified irritants, started his barking routine. After about an hour and a half of listening to that crap I got my camera and set it up on my front porch and video taped about 5 minutes of his barking routine….

As is quite evident from the video the dog is barking at absolutely nothing. It is so obvious that the poor dog is bored to death and apparently for this dog, barking gives him some measure of entertainment. He tries to get some enjoyment out of the laundry basket but that just doesn’t do it for him. The rub of course is that it’s not entertainment for me. And where are the dog’s owners who live in the house? Probably at work and the dog will be left out all day to wreak his barking havoc on the neighborhood.

In this particular case, the dog continued his incessant barking for another hour or so before it finally stopped, fortunately for the rest of the day on this particular day…. 🙂

How ’bout some “Drop-Dead” shower caddies….

I can’t recall that I have ever purchased a ‘shower caddy’ before but was certainly familiar with what they were and the purpose they served. And given the fact that a shower caddy is such a very common bathroom accessory and available product, well past that I never gave them much thought. That was until yesterday morning when I decided I needed one to hang on the shower door of my home’s half-bath.

Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and of course Amazon, I just knew they would be available from all types of outlets. So as always the first thing I did was consulted the Google search to see who had what and exactly what style might catch my eye. Given the fact that these are but mere shower caddies probably selling from between $10 to $30, it shouldn’t be hard to find one I liked.

Search engines are a bit like roulette wheels given you never know who is going to show up in the number one position of Google. But coming up first yesterday morning was the big box hardware store Lowe’s. Now at that moment I thought that was great, after all I only live about a mile or so from a local Lowe’s store. So I did a search on the Lowe’s website for shower caddies and the first of those drop-dead caddies showed up. Now trust me, before you look at the Lowe’s ad shown below you need to have taken all your heart medication because I guarantee you’re about to see a drop-dead shower caddy….

OK…. now if you’re still with me I hope you noted that the caddy is even made of plastic and it looks like a 3-tier soap dish to me. And that price does definitely say $399, I know cause I stared at it for almost five minutes, mouth open thinking I was hallucinating. Then I thought that perhaps the shower caddy was somehow permanently attached to the shower so the shower itself came with it. Now that would make sense but alas, the price was just for the shower caddy it turns out.

After regaining my composure I concluded that surely that was simply a typo in the ad with regard to the price. So I dropped down to the next shower caddy and there it was, the generic shower caddy that one would think they could get just about anywhere for $15 to $20 but not this one, this was another one of those drop-dead Lowe’s shower caddies….

Well, that was the last straw for me. Time to leave ‘la-la land’ or OZ or where ever the hell I was, regain my composure and go find one of the surely millions of shower caddies priced accordingly. I decided to go to Amazon next and within a matter of minutes had found the caddy I wanted.

As you may have readily noted the Amazon caddy which is quite similar to the Lowe’s caddy just above, it is only $19.99, made of steel and is available in two different styles and three different finishes. So not only is it $295 dollars cheaper but it is actually more versatile. Now I don’t pretend to know what is going on with the Lowe’s shower caddies shown above nor do I intend to pursue an answer. Fact of the matter is I was simply so taken back and shocked at the Lowe’s prices that I just had to share the experience and of course, the “drop-dead” shower caddies! 🙁

Remembering those Social Security deductions….

This morning for some reason right out of the clear blue something I hadn’t thought of in years popped into my mind. I remembered that increase in pay you hopefully use to get at some point each year, dependent of course on your salary, after you had paid in the maximum amount of Social Security established by the Social Security Administration for that particular year.

The first year I reached and exceeded that maximum Social Security deduction was 1970 when the maximum deduction number was $7800 and I made $8600 that year. I remember first seeing that extra amount in my net pay on my pay check and simply thought I must have gotten a raise. What was odd is that I had not been informed of any such raise. Hearing of my curiosity about the pay increase, one of my coworkers clued me in as to what the increase was all about. Up until that point I was really a bit clueless about how all those deductions like Social Security and Medicare worked.

Having said that, shown below is an interesting chart of the yearly Social Security deductions beginning in the year 1937 and going thru the year 2016. For this year as a matter of information, 2017, the maximum is set at $127,000.

And so it was that from that first year that I received that increase forward, through my career as the latter part of the year approached with each pay check I anticipated that perhaps it was this week that I had reached that Social Security payoff threshold. And after looking at your pay check and another week was going to pass you by there was certainly at least a brief moment of disappointment if you did not see that increase.

The last year of my working career that I had met the Social Security deductible maximum was before the end of the year, 1989, when it had reached $48,000. I went into semi-retirement in 1990 so I had a substantial decrease in income from that point on and that Social Security deductible became but a fleeting memory of the past.

In looking at that chart today I am amazed at how high the Social Security deduction has gone. I did check however and according to the Pew Research Center Institute the income spread for a middle class family of three is anywhere from $42,000 to $125,000, dependent of course on many factors, the least not being where you are living and the associated cost of living. In other words, if you live in Vicksburg, MS you are far less likely to come close to that threshold than if you were living in New York City.

Now at age 75 I find myself on the other end of this discourse, benefiting in my old age from all those years of playing that waiting game, more thankful for what I paid in than for those token raises I was enjoying along the way…. 🙂

My final goodbye to the game of golf….

Remembering back a few years ago, one of the more personal sad days of my life was the day I donated all my music equipment to the local high school. I had pretty much lost my voice and some measure of the tremors had affected my ability to play my keyboards. It was the first major reckoning that I was entering a different phase of life. Not a little hick-up but a life changing moment. I had been a musician and playing one instrument or another since age thirteen. And singing, well that had always been my first love no doubt.

The music was the first to go and then came the outdoor activity which had been over the course of my lifetime the only outdoor game or sport, however you want to define it, I had really participated in with any measure of regularity. And that would be the game of golf.

In a journal entry of mine back in September of last year titled “Bucket List Item…. Clean out the old man’s attic!” I discussed the cleaning out of my attic as a self-proclaimed act of burial preparation. Of course as one soon realizes when taking on of such a project is that you will quickly find that what was a rather neat and organized living area, you are now faced with crap lying around and stacked up in almost every room in the house. I certainly realized this was going to be the aftermath of such a project but if you suffer from Organization Compulsive Disorder your anxiety and stress levels are sure to elevate.

And so now I had a clean attic but the inside of my  home looked like “Hoarder’s Paradise”. So my first idea was to just photograph everything and either offer it for sale or just give it away. After all, with my COPD there was little else I could do anyway. A garage sale would have been an excellent way to dispose of a majority of items but not a chore that I could have easily handled physically. I did over the course of a few weeks manage to give away some old picture frames, framing mat boards and a few of those metal cookie/candy storage tins.

But the elephant in the room was my golf clubs. Selling or even giving them away would mean final closure on yet another of my life’s pleasures and enjoyments. But at this point it had been several years since I had even picked up a golf club so I gathered up my two sets of clubs and my mother’s old set she used when she was alive and prepared them for a donation to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters local donation center along with a ton of my old clothes. As the adjacent photo reflects, there they were ready for the next leg of their life’s journey and my best hope could only be that the clubs would bring as much enjoyment to their new owners as they had me and my mom.

Perhaps it seems that I am wallowing in large measure here in good old self-pity but not really. As I grew older and began to reflect on old age and what it would bring I knew that many of my life’s passions and pleasures would have to be set aside at some point along the way. So now that most are gone I try not to reflect on what I have lost but rather the joy that all had brought to my life. And I have to say given that, that the joy and pleasure I received leaves the loss of those things but a fading mist for the most part.

Over the next few weeks I finally got the house back in shape storing many of the items in spare closet space to include closet floors. One closet is where I stored my CD collection, some 425 of those, so I gave all of those to my little sister which gave me a lot more shelf storage room for some of those smaller attic treasures. I made one more call to Big Brothers/Big Sisters and had them come by and pick up my final load of donations from the big attic clean out.

Rogue Camera Murders Local Lakewood Resident

Speaking of senile ramblings, it is at times quite curious as to the things we can dream up with plenty of time on our hands. Such was the case sometime back when I purchased a new camera and it struck me that perhaps cameras actually have some measure of feelings. I wondered what my old camera, which worked perfectly by the way, could possibly be thinking when confronted by the fact it had been replaced by a newer, perhaps more sophisticated type of camera. Those results are reflected below….

Read about it here – Murder On Oaklawn Drive