Month: July 2006

Breaking News… There’s been a juvenile terrorist attack!

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I awoke this morning, got my first cup of coffee and as I strolled confidently out into the fresh morning air I was met with unbelievable devastation. I could not believe what I was seeing. It would appear that in the still of the night, perhaps around midnight, a group of juvenile terrorist inflicted major toilet paper damage to my next door neighbor’s home. Here is just a peek at the devastation. It is recommended that no children be present when viewing these photos. It may give them ideas and we don’t want to be accused of training juvenile terrorists.

4812 Oaklawn Drive - TP1

4812 Oaklawn Drive - TP2

Even though my heart goes out to my neighbor, I guess one can only be thankful that I was by some fate spared from receiving any ‘squares’ what so ever. I was spared and got not one square. Perhaps I will build a monument and place it on one corner of my front yard with a plaque reading….

I was spared and got not one square…. God Bless Northern Tissue

Although you may see these photos on your evening news I can not help but share the shock of what I was faced with this morning. If I don’t seem my normal, cheerful self for a few days, please forgive me. It does take time for these sorts of things to fade away.

I won’t ask for your thoughts and prayers because I can already feel in my heart your sympathy and concern. As far as any thoughts or prayers with regard to my neighbors – screw ‘um! And they better clean that crap up before I call the city code people!

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In Remembrance – “Jack Warden”

Jack Warden

Another one of my favorite actors passed away this past Wednesday at a New York City hospital. Some of my favorite movies in which Jack Warden appeared are the following:

12 Angry Men

All The President’s Men

Heaven Can Wait

Brian’s Song (TV Movie)

The Verdict

The Presidio

While You Were Sleeping

He won an Emmy for his performance in “Brian’s Song” while being nominated for two Academy Awards for best supporting actor in “Heaven Can Wait” and his role in “Shampoo”.

I just watched him a couple of weeks ago in a re-run of the movie “The Verdict” where he co-starred with Paul Newman which is one of my personal all-time favorites. He was yet another national treasure in the field of entertainment and will be sorely missed. And yet another piece of my life moves on to Cemeteryville.

My Andy Rooney Impression….

Terri, the owner of “Island Writer” blog, noted in a recent post simply titled “112,706” how many visitors her blog had drawn but yet was curious as to why the number of commenters remained somewhat low – given her blogs high number of visitors.

I would like to give some measure of response and insight into that question if I may. I am sure Terri’s curiosity is one perhaps held by many other blog owners. There are some numbers or estimates however that must guide the conclusions I set forth here. It is estimated by the “blogging statistical experts” that of all the visitors that may visit a given blog, only 10% of those visitors may actually leave a comment. That leaves us with 90% who come and go in the quiet of the night. The term applied to those type visitors by the blog experts is “lurker” or they are said to be “lurking”. As I mentioned to Terri, the term “lurker” is a bit distasteful. Something one might better associate with a ‘porn’ site visitor perhaps. I think “stealth visitor” is much more palatable and quite honestly, more politically correct. But I have digressed.

So first…..what of this seemingly interested and dedicated 10% who do make the effort to leave a comment to our post? Let’s look at those individuals and what makes them so unique?

A lot of commenters on blogs are more along the “have a nice day” type. By that I mean they offer no substance and leave much doubt as to the seriousness of the comment, no matter how brief or how extensive.

Then you have your “ulterior motive” commenter. We see these types all the time where someone seems to have something substantial to add but they keep reminding us to go buy their CD or drop by there site for more “detailed” information.

Then there is the larger percentage of this 10% who give their brief but courteous response only as a means of signing the post which embeds a link to their site via their signature which may lure you to their blog which was their intent in the first place.

And of those left, out of that 10% group, we have the commenter who responded to our post with interest and sincerity. We must be down around 2% or 3% by now you think?

Hmmm. That might lead one to believe that it may actually be….that somewhere within the majority of those visitors who make up that 90% who don’t reply, resides the ones along with the 2%-3% previously mentioned who may actually have some measure of interest in what you have to say. But why don’t any of these folks reply? Well let’s address that question.

Here are some reasons I feel visitors don’t reply. I will try to list them in the order of most probable to least probable.

Don’t know how to post a comment.

Read your post with interest but have no comments they feel they want to make.

For security concerns will not leave email addresses where required.

Regular commenter to your blog checking for new posts (accounts for some 100 visits per month per individual).

Landed on your blog by accident.

Are afraid their comment will be criticized or disagreed with by you or others.

Thinks you are an idiot and won’t waste their time.

Just too shy.

Have self esteem issues.

Thinks your too old.

Thinks your too young.

Thinks your too ugly – I told you not to post the picture.

Thinks your not their type.

Thinks your too weird.

Swore they would never come back after the first visit – but did.

In closing….the difficulty in offering this unbiased public analysis and response is that now my own blog visitors may think I am sitting around judging the sincerity of their visits or critiquing their motives for posting comments. Let me address that issue by simply saying this. That will never be the case because if people are visiting my blog, it is because they consider themselves fortunate enough to have found it and continue to be mesmerized by my topics, sense of humor, and good looks! Their greatest fear is that I might move yet again and not leave them a forwarding address.

I hope that this in-depth analysis will prove to enlighten my readers, commenters, stealth visitors and other blog owners with regard to this burning question and I would like to thank Terri for having the courage to bring this subject to our attention.

Breaking news here….

Keith RichardsSome thirty-one years ago, July 5, 1975, a young Keith Richards along with Ron Wood were traveling from Memphis, TN to Dallas, TX across the treaded, sheriff infested, southern state of Arkansas when they were nabbed for reckless driving. The famed Rolling Stones member, Keith Richards, was fined a handsome sum of $162.50 and his name was forever, we thought, affixed to the pages of the Arkansas Reckless Driver’s Book. A shame I am sure that has caused Mr. Richards to toss and turn many a night since.

But now, by some unknown twist of fate, the Arkansas Governor has chosen to remove Keith’s name from said book – thereby forever cleansing the name of Keith Richards for all time to come. Our Governor, who has received quite some notoriety in the past for his frivolous pardons of seasoned criminals, may face one of his greatest challenges when he issues this pardon for Keith Richards. The Arkansas press can be brutal.

As the article linked below points out, our Governor is a bit of a ‘rocker’ himself (plays bass in a local group) and with his final term in office fast coming to a close, one can only realistically speculate that he may have his eye set on an even bigger prize which may well explain this decision to issue the pardon to Mr. Richards. Well, you know what they say about burning bridges.

I would very much like to put special emphasis on the fact that the Rolling Stones have not had a permanent bass player since 1993 when Bill Wyman left the group. Normally they hire bass player Darryl Jones to play bass when they are touring. It was by no coincidence it would seem that Mr. Huckabee, who became Lt. Governor of Arkansas in 1993 and then became Governor of the state in 1996, is now all of a sudden interested in the well-being of Mr. Richards.

Keith & Mick & Huckabee

By the way, click HERE to read the full story for yourself if you think there may be a measure of embellishment making its way from my keyboard to my blog. In addition, here are a few words from USA Today…. 🙂

Learning the Art of Dying….

Little CowboyI must have only been around six years old, maybe seven, when I discovered that even at that young age there, indeed, was an art to dying. With a steady diet of the Saturday afternoon matinee at the neighborhood theatre there was Hopalong Cassidy, Lash Larue, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, just to name a few who filled the screen issuing out their brand of frontier justice. And I learned early on that the bad guy couldn’t just drop to the ground dead when they got shot. No.…there was style and technique involved. And apparently the longer it took to hit the ground after being shot, the better.

So I would practice for hours in my small bedroom before finally taking my act on the road. First I had to learn how to vocally perfect that gun shot sound. Then I would make the gun shot sound and fall mortally wounded across my bed. But not before holding my gut while twitching and staggering till the fatal end finally came. Then when I had my style and technique perfected, I took it outside for a good game of ‘Cowboys and Indians’ with my playmates where I could finally put my skills to the test. If you were really good at dying, your friends would holler at other friends to come over and watch you die. Competition, however, was tough among my playmates. They all thought they had a lock on the best way to die.

Then a couple of years later, say around eight or nine years old, I realized that it might be a good way to impress the girls in the neighborhood. Sure enough….every now and then I would run across a girl who would clap with glee and jump up and down a bit after I went through my dying act. That’s when you knew you had really made it.

Now the girls, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue as to how to die. If one would even allow me to shoot them to begin with, they just seem to collapse like a wet wash cloth. It was somewhat embarrassing and humiliating just to be close by when they did their dying act. At any rate, I just don’t think they ever really understood the importance of it all.

But that was then….and this is now. And as I approach the ripe old age of 65 I can only hope that I can carry what I learned back then, with regard to the art of dying, forward to the day when it all becomes quite real. I hope that I still posses the grace and class that I exhibited back in those much younger years when it all seemed so real – yet manifested itself in a simple game of make believe.

Here I come… and there they go!

Well, only a little over two months till I join the Medicare ranks and here we go….

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Today we are told that the Bush Administration projects an 11.2% increase in Medicare to $98.40 a month and perhaps a little more. Don’t you just love that “perhaps a little more” add-on? Yesterday Bush announced the budget deficit is projected to fall some 296 billion dollars this fiscal year which is below the original estimate of some 423 billion dollars. Guess we know now where they must be trying to make up that short coming huh? And in addition, as the increase in Medicare article so eloquently points out, that Medicare increase is three times the amount of increase we will get in Social Security for inflation. That sounds about right!

Now, I really should not bitch about this increase in Medicare costs from my standpoint because I have been paying for my health insurance out-of-pocket since I retired almost three years ago. I currently pay $590 a month and I don’t even have any health problems. In fact, over a period of nine months recently they raised my monthly payment $200. That’ll teach me not to go to the doctor for a $65 check-up! So when I go on Medicare it is obvious that I will start saving some $490 a month. Of course there will be about another $150 or so for MediGap and the beloved Part D coverage. It’s just another one of those “principal” things with me. It is much, much more serious for a lot of other folks who have fixed incomes.

And here in my hometown, we have just been informed that our electric rates will be increasing 57% between now and April of 2007.

And I personally won’t complain about gasoline prices. That is probably one we had coming given gas prices in the rest of the world. I think that had more to do with the delivery! You know…..bend over – we have a surprise for you!

Bitch….Bitch…..Bitch…..

My “Sweet Treat” Story….

I can only guess that all that kissing on National Kissing Day must have gotten me to thinking about sweet stuff. Guess we all have our favorite little “sweet treats” huh? You’d never guess what mine is in a million years – and has been since the very early 1950s. There are a couple of variations of my favorite treat nowadays but this treat still remains pretty much in its original state from a certain manufacturer.

Lik-m-aidWhen I got old enough, like many of you I would beg a nickel from Momma and head up to a little grocery on the corner just a half-block from the house. For me it was either bubble gum or “Lik-M-Aid”. And that favorite treat – well of course it was Lik-M-Aid and it cost a whopping penny a packet. I have looked on the web but could not find any pictures showing how the original Lik-M-Aid packs looked. In the 1960s the look had changed to what the picture below shows:

They give you a stick nowadays to eat the treat with but in my day you opened the packet, dumped it in the palm of your hand, stuck your finger in your mouth to wet it, then stuck your finger in the pile of Lik-M-Aid in your hand and commenced to sucking it off your finger; or you might just dip your tongue in it; or other times you would just gulp it down right out of the pack like a stiff shot of whiskey. And sometimes the grimace on your face might look as though that is exactly what you did because they were quite sour or tart. Although the ingredients boasted of Dextrose, the stuff never tasted sweet but quite sour. And that is why I liked it so much because strangely enough, I don’t care for most treats that actually taste “sweet”.

Although the treat still exists under its original name, “Pixy Stix” is now more like the original candy than the current version of Lik-M-Aid. So I maintain a reasonable supply of this favorite treat as can be confirmed by the following photos just taken last evening of my current stash.

Pixie Sticks in Can

When a birthday or special occasion comes along, here comes one or both of my sisters showing up with a bounty of the goodies as a gift. In fact, I have strongly suggested to my sisters that the day I am packed up for my trip to Cemeteryville, I want at least a couple of the Giant Pixy Sticks put in the coffin – just in case.

But as one of my fellow-bloggers knows, that being my friend Arkansawyer, the hard candy version of this treat is also always in my shirt pocket. And that is of course “Sweet Tarts”. I am literally never without this treat.

Sweet Tarts

See….here is what is in my pocket right at this very moment!

Sweet Tarts in Hand

That is my “sweet treat” story. What’s yours? Is one of your favorites from days gone by or do you have a more modern favorite sweet treat?

In Remembrance – “June Allyson

June Allyson

It saddened me to learn of the death of June Allyson this past Saturday. I was always a huge fan and like so many, especially loved the roles where she played opposite James Stewart and Van Johnson. I can’t count the number of times I have watched “The Glenn Miller Story” and “The Stratton Story” which remain my two most favorite films in which she starred. In fact, I just watched “The Glenn Miller Story” a few weeks ago for the gazillionth time.

Strangely enough, films seem to make us individually a part of the lives of these actors we come to love and admire. And even though they have passed on, we can continue to enjoy their legacy and their life’s work which will continue to make our lives richer and fuller.

God bless you June and thank you….