Month: September 2006

Sex, lies, jewelry, drugs and deer hunting….

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Here locally in our state we seem to be having another “happening” that is slowly gaining some national attention. A local former police chief of a small central Arkansas town, Lonoke, along with his wife and a couple of bail bondsmen seem to be causing quite a stir in legal circles. The former police chief and his cohorts are accused of making meth for the purpose of framing another man along with other various crimes to include breaking into homes and stealing prescription drugs and jewelry. The police chief’s wife on the other hand has been accused of having sex with various jail prisoners. I could not begin to give all the details of this story justice so if you have such interests let me direct you to an excellent news article detailing events of this sorted tale by clicking on the link below.

Arkansas Times: “Out of Control In Lonoke County”

Now, I did not personally direct too much personal interest in this “happening” until this past week when there was a flurry of activity on the matter. I guess not a whole lot surprises me anymore. At any rate, it seems that the defense attorney for one of the bail bondsmen found it necessary to petition the court for a delay of the trial until after Arkansas’ deer hunting season was over. He and his client have great concerns that since the trial is to begin on November 8th and deer season is to open just three days later that any deer hunter which has been tagged (no pun intended) for jury duty will be angry or otherwise highly pissed-off since the trial will interfere with their deer hunting activities. He further thinks that because of that, the affected jurors will harbor “extreme prejudice” against his client for obviously ruining their deer season plans. He further claimed that some 20%, maybe even 30%, of the counties population where the trial is to be held are deer hunters so the chances of this happening are great.

Well for me this immediately translated into one of those “so you think you’ve heard it all” moments. After losing myself in several minutes of laughter I pulled myself together as best I could. One of our local TV stations filmed the defense attorney in his quest for a delay and you have just got to check out his attire. He has on his “dress” deer shirt and his “dress” deer tie. I suppose one could say he apparently gave it his best shot (again, no pun intended). I would really like to just think that it was all a joke but sadly enough that is not the case.

The judge’s ruling on the attorney’s petition noted that he (the judge) had not missed a year in the deer woods since 1967 but that there are times when one’s civic duty must prevail over our personal desires. He denied any delay in the trial even though it might interfere with some prospective juror’s deer hunting activities.

Check out the following link for more information on the judge’s ruling on this latest event:

KTHV 11: Related Article and Video

And now….I must get back to some yard work. And of course there is still that song “Yellow Bird” that I am thinking about as a project for The Electric Key Orchestra.

My All-Time Favorite Memory….

In response to an onslaught of recent harassment and I am quite sure you perpetrators know who you are…..

As previously mentioned, the old vocal chords went south on me a number of years ago and I actually have very few recordings of me singing. I did do a lot of singing but all my singing and playing was done in a live entertainment environment for the most part. My ambitions to become a “rock & roll” legend that I was harboring as a teen went by the wayside once I began playing in bands. It was fun and it was also a way of expressing yourself and your feelings. That seemed to pretty much do it for me.

Anyway, I do have a recording of the last song I wrote for which I also wrote lyrics. It was written and copyrighted back in 1988. The recording is a home recording and not the greatest quality.

The title of the song is “My All-Time Favorite Memory” and has a country flavor. I have included the lyrics in case the recording quality makes it difficult to understand the words at any point. Of the songs I have written which are not all that many, I would have to say it is my favorite so I am glad I did get a recording of it before the old voice went south.

“My All-Time Favorite Memory” – Written, arranged and recorded by Alan Ginocchio

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“My All-Time Favorite Memory”

The rains softly falling against the window
And there’s some quiet time for me once again
And as the thoughts slowly come and go
My all-time favorite memory drops in

I’m just sittin’ in my all-time favorite chair
Listening to my all-time favorite song
And darlin’ wherever you are
You’re my all-time favorite memory
Yes darlin’ wherever you are
You’re my all-time favorite memory

Well darlin’ its been a long time now since you’ve come and gone
Our chosen paths meant separate ways for you and me
But when we were together we shared so many, many things
And tonight once more we’ll share a memory

So I’ll just sit here in my all-time favorite chair
Listening to my all-time favorite song
And tonight darlin’ wherever you are
We’ll share my all-time favorite memory
Yes darling wherever you are
You’re still my all-time favorite memory

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So, this will be my first and last musical vocal release on the old blog so I hope it suffices in responding to some of your curiosities and I hope you might find some measure of enjoyment out of it also.

Meanwhile…..look out Yellow Bird cause here I come….probably!Pets - 004

The Adventures of Snake Boy….

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Funny on these blogs how one thing will lead to another. I know we have all experienced that. The last couple of days have really been enjoyable going back and reliving some of these childhood experiences as related in my previous post. When Joy of “The Joy of Six” asked what other atrocities I may have committed against my mom when I was a young boy, I related an overview story of how I would sometimes bring snakes home that I had captured from my noted field trips and eventually let them go in the backyard. Always unbeknown to mom of course. I wasn’t totally devoid of any sense.

But with regard to these type ventures as a young boy, none are more memorable or hold a more enduring place in my heart than that which I will relate this morning. Not only will I relate the adventure but will finally disclose publicly my true identity.

Now, as previously documented, I did have a passion as a young boy for going out and hunting and catching snakes. Usually the garden variety for the most part. Some of my “snake adventures” as a young boy use to take me into an area where quite a few black families lived. Some of the black kids use to follow me around when I was in the neighborhood on my snake hunts. We would all be in the stealth mode in my quest for snakes but as soon as one of the creatures made an appearance I would find myself quite alone. This phenomenon actually became quite predictable.

First there was whispering amongst me and my companions….then silence as I would lift a large piece of wood….then blood curdling screams in unison from my traveling companions when the snake would make its initial appearance. Even after I had safely secured the little critter in my big jar, my entourage was nowhere to be found. Later I might see one of my ex-companions sheepishly wave from their front porch but that was about it.

And now this is where this adventure takes on legend proportion. It didn’t take any time whatsoever for the black kids to start calling the little white kid “Snake Boy”. And one can only imagine how my head filled with visions of my new found fame and stature in the world. Every now and then I would make a trip down to the neighborhood and none of the kids would show up. If after a little while no one showed up, Snake Boy would just drop his head and mope home totally devoid of any reinforcement of his true identity. The snakes would indeed be safe this day from the dreaded Snake Boy!

Oddly enough in my neighborhood I was simply known as “Alan” or “A.E” as mom used to call me. That was my first and middle initial. But just as Superman had to deal with his secret identity, I too had such a burden that had been thrust upon me at such an early age. The black neighborhood quickly became my favorite needless to say. Sure, there may have been a Frank Buck (How many remember him?); there may have been a Tarzan; but there was only one Snake Boy! Snake Boy did from time to time have visions of how he might look in a loin cloth carrying around his little gallon jug….but alas, that was never to be.

I have always wondered why the white kids in my own neighborhood never recognized the talent of the great white Snake Boy when I was having an adventure in my neighborhood. Well, that was just their loss as far as I am concerned. All those years and they never knew who I really was.

My true identity has been well hidden for all these years but now as I reach the autumn of my life it is finally time to come out of the “Snake Boy” closet! Now that the world will come to know my true identity by these public disclosures on my blog, there will be autobiographies and movie deals but never forget my blogger friends, we also had our time in the sunshine together. And from now on you will be able to brag to your friends that you really knew…..Snake Boy! See you at the movies!

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And now…. let us prey!

The Praying Mantis is an expert at “preying” on insects or anything else they feel up to the task of taking on! Being one of my favorite insects, I was inspired by very recent posts from Rain on her blog “Rainy Day Thoughts” and also Judy from her blog “Just Ask Judy” which referenced the infamous mantis.

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When I was a teenager I had what I consider to be a rather hilarious learning experience with a Praying Mantis. I, by pure accident, ran across a Praying Mantis “egg case” in my mom’s flower garden one Fall. I knew what egg cases looked like but had never actually secured one. They are normally about an inch long and are deposited on twigs and branches for the most part.

Praying Mantis - 02(Praying Mantis Egg Case)

 

Anyway, I broke off the twig and took the broken twig along with the attached egg case and threw it in my nightstand drawer in my room. I am not sure what I was thinking at the time….if in fact I was. Anyway, came the Spring and one day after coming home from school I sat down on the edge of the bed and became acutely aware that I wasn’t alone. Closer inspection of my bed and nightstand revealed I had been inundated with scores of baby Praying Mantises. I opened my window, pushed open the screen, and tried to get as many as I could outside. I suppose I did a pretty good job….mom never knew till I fessed up many years later when I thought I was big enough to take her – just in case.

And in case you are wondering, those newly hatched little critters are fiesty and small.

Praying Mantis - 03(click to enlarge)

For what ever reason I have always found these insects fascinating. After the aforementioned event, the next fall I went to a location where I knew there were a lot of mantises around and caught a pregnant female, built a small terrarium for her and got to experience her actually laying her eggs along with building the egg case. It is all done in one operation. About a week later I took the egg case outside and put it in our flower garden. It was an enjoyable and a learning experience.

You can purchase mantis eggs for your garden just as you can purchase ladybugs. The Praying Mantises are great assets to gardens for protecting it from pests.

There are rumors that a Praying Mantis is capable of taking down a Humming Bird. Although an extremely rare occurrence, it is indeed possible. Just not very likely. First of all, the mantis has to be exceptionally large while the Humming Bird reasonably young. Below is a link to a couple of photos actually documenting such an occurrence. But again, if you are a lover of Humming Birds, little is to be feared from the mantis. But….as the photos document as seen in the Bird Watch Digest, there are always exceptions to every rule.

Bird Watch Digest: “Praying Mantis Devours Humming Bird”

As always….nature remains as awesome as it is beautiful. As a young boy I spent hour upon hour scratching chigger and mosquito bites incurred from my pursuit of any creeping, crawling critter I could get close too. And….loving every minute of it!

Are smart kids the ultimate status symbol?

Students

I don’t normally have posts on my blog dealing with politics or controversial issues. They are usually covered fairly well on many other blogs which do tend to air related opinions or editorials on such matters. And that is good because if I am so moved I can certainly drop by one of my choice and add my two-cents worth. But for every rule there is always an exception.

RitalinLast night while I was watching the latest “local news” they aired a story which had to do with parents giving perfectly normal children ADHD drugs to help improve their intellectual performance in school. Someone referred to it as a “brain on steroids”! Parents contend it helps the child have better focus and improves grades. This new trend involves attention deficit disorder medications like Adderall or the newer Concerta, or the most familiar of these drugs, Ritalin.

Well I have to say that I all but went into cardiac arrest while listening to this newscast. Parents giving their children prescription drugs when they aren’t sick or in need of them? Say it again Sam….I know I didn’t hear that correctly. No parent would ever do that!

Well….before the aired story was over I had been convinced otherwise. Yes, parents would do that! Much to my total disbelief.

One of the side effects noted was the possible loss of a sense of humor. Give me a pill that will help me attain a 3.0 grade average, even a 4.0 grade average, in exchange for my sense of humor? How sad is that? Are children now becoming “status symbols” rather than individuals who are part of a human race? Are children going to be transformed into someone they are not?

I guess the purpose of this post is my way of expressing total disbelief with what I heard last night and read this morning. I know that some of you are health care professionals and know far more about these type issues than I but why in God’s name would any parent do this to their own child? My simple observation is that it seems we are heading toward a point in our society where we will require the drug companies to create a “parenting pill” because we just no longer have the time, love, or patience for parenting.

I have posted links below to the news stories along with a link to a health resource site with additional information. The first link is one of our local television stations and at the end of the article you can click on a link and watch the specific newscast story.

Drug Free World: How Ritalin Abuse Starts
National Public Radio (NPR): More Students Turning Illegally To ‘Smart’ Drugs
Vancouver Sun: Use of ADHD Drugs by Top University Students Rampant

Like coming home again….

Movie Film ReelBack on the 28th of August I had a post entitled “Found… A Long Lost Friend” which involved me finally finding a movie that I had seen back when I was around eleven or twelve years old. If you saw that post you might recall the name of the movie was “The Man Who Could Work Miracles”. I suppose the title could lead one to believe it a religious movie but au contraire.

Well….I ordered the movie and received it in the mail day before yesterday so my day from that point on was directed toward the evening premier of my movie. As I watched the movie after some odd fifty-three years or so I would have to say it was a bit like the “coming home again” feeling. Parts of it I didn’t remember while other parts I remembered as soon as they presented themselves. It was, indeed, a bit of a comedy although as a child I only remembered the magical parts of the movie. It actually had some interesting thoughts for one to ponder. I mean, just imagine if you had the power to will almost anything imaginable including the ending of all disease and/or world hunger for example. I am sure H.G. Wells intended his book, which the film was based on, to in fact lay before one those thought provoking ideas.

The Man Who Could Work Miracles

If someone were to consider releasing an updated version of this film, it seems to me that it would be very appropriate if it were a Disney film. It has both humor and depth plus the magic of things being made to appear and disappear which I am sure is what attracted me to the film when I was a youngster.

As promised, that is my movie report. Of all the times through the years I have thought and wondered about this movie…and now it is all over. It actually does feel a little bit like coming home again. And who doesn’t like a happy ending.

Are you under the weather or sick of the weather?

A fellow bloggers, Jay, who use to run the “Cynical Bastard” blog, has been a tad bit ill of late and day before yesterday when I was leaving him a comment on his blog and wishing him well I started to note to him that I was sorry he was under the weather. Then I paused for a moment, as I seemed to have drifted into some form of deep concentration, and then I had one of those ‘profound’ thoughts that we all claim to have from time to time.

Where the hell did the phrase “under the weather” come from?

Sick DoggieIt occurred to me at that very moment that we are all under the weather! So…if I am not feeling well or I am sick, why is it specifically pointed out that am I under the weather? Even if I am in the house sitting in my favorite recliner watching the television feeling great, could not one say I was under the weather. When we are in our houses are we still not under the weather or do we have to go outside to be under the weather. I thought everything was under the weather.

Sometimes people are said to be out in the weather! Again, if I am outside then I assume that of course I am out in the weather. So why can’t I just be “outside” rather than having to be out in the weather? Is it not a given that the weather is outside? Actually the answer to that question, as a matter of fact, may be ‘no”. Haven’t you ever heard anyone walk into the house and say, “Uh, how is the weather in here? See what I mean. The weather is suppose to be outside, yet from time to time we find ourselves asking how the weather is on the inside. Who the hell decided to start doing that? There’s no weather on the inside!

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If I have recovered from an illness and am feeling really great then I must be over the weather! I don’t, however, ever recall someone saying that someone is over the weather. No, if I have been sick they say that I am over my cold or over my illness, not over the weather. But if I was under the weather when I was sick, shouldn’t I be over the weather if I am now no longer sick? But….being over the weather sounds like I might have been sick of the weather but now I am over the weather. Is everyone getting this?

Now that brings up another point. I can be sick of the weather but that doesn’t mean I am sick. It could mean I am sick if we wanted it to mean that. I wonder who we could call to get that implemented? I guess it would be more proper to say that I was sick from the weather if I had caught some disease from the weather rather than sick of the weather. But you see, someone decided that if we are under the weather then we are sick or feeling less than great. Who decided that?

I’ll bet President Bush could get all this straightened out if he wanted too. I would try to contact him but he is probably in New Orleans or Iraq resolving those problems. Maybe I could get a hold of Vice-President Cheney? No, probably no one knows where the hell he is. Oh well, one problem at a time I suppose. Back to our immediate problem….

Okay now….if someone were over the weather it seems to me that perhaps that should imply that they had died and now they were in heaven. I’m sure heaven is over the weather. I know it’s way up there somewhere. That makes complete sense to me now that I think about it. When someone asks you have you seen ‘so and so’ lately but you happen to know that “so and so” passed away some time back – you simply reply, “Oh I am sorry to say “so and so” is over the weather now. Yep, “so and so” went over the weather a couple of months ago.” See how that would work. Now on the other hand, if they had died and gone to hell you couldn’t say they were over the weather. So you would just have to say in that case that they had died and gone to hell!

I have got to tell you; this all seems to be somewhat confusing to me.

And it just goes on and on. It just doesn’t seem to have an ending. If I am outside and it is raining then I am definitely under the weather. But I am not sick. But usually at this point someone will say, “Oh he is out in the weather.” Well of course I am out in the weather you idiot. The weather is always outside. Doesn’t a mother say to the child, “You better come in out of the weather now.”? But if I am understanding this, being out in the weather means that you are outside and it is raining or snowing or doing something you don’t personally like the weather to do. Because you see, if the sun was shining and the birds were singing no one ever says, “Oh he is out in the weather.” But…that is where he is isn’t he?

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You know….it is no wonder why the English language is so hard to learn.

In Remembrance – “Glenn Ford”

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Once again an actor icon of my lifetime leaves a space in my little world. Glenn Ford passed away Wednesday at his home at the age of ninety. I always thought of Glenn as “the quiet man”. In almost all his movies he always seemed calm and always in control of his situation. In fact, a famous quote of Glenn’s is often used to describe the demeanor of this great actor…

If they try to rush me, I always say, I’ve only got one other speed — and it’s slower.

Glenn Ford was born in Portneuf, Quebec, Canada and moved to Santa Monica, California with his family as a child. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939. His first role in a film came in 1939 with his role in “Heaven Is A Barbed Wire Fence”.

His roles for the most part could be described as an ordinary man finding himself in unusual circumstances. Glenn was especially known for his roles in western films.

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He never won an Academy Award although he did win a Golden Globe for his performance in “Pocket of Miracles”. And many remember him for his role in “Gilda” opposite Rita Heyworth.

Glenn Ford - 03

Topping my ‘favorites’ list would have to include the following although I enjoyed many of his other endeavors.

The Blackboard Jungle
Midway
Ransom
The Big Heat
The Sheepman
Torpedo Run

We will miss you but thanks for your legacy and the many films that you have left us to enjoy and add to our lifetime.