Day Taking Photos

I spent some time today out in the hinterlands around Mongo, IN taking photos. This is one of my favorites, so far. I’m still working on converting the raw files and tweaking the results so I hope there’ll be more to share when I get the chance.

Interesting bit of trivia

The first web site for a member of Congress, thanks to MIT, Eric Loeb and John Mallery. Check the easy to remember URL and the old-style Netscape ‘N’ in the browser. The ‘iiip’ in the URL stands for MIT’s “Intelligent Information Infrastructure Project’. At this point, there was no such thing as ‘’. 


Naturally, you’ll be wondering what an erudite gentleman such as I would be doing with such a list on his site.

Well, I have a long-time aversion of, and loathing for, what is usually called country music. It usually speaks to a visceral side of humanity, extolling as virtuous, those parts of human existence that I find most loathesome, and in music and lyrics that are not just non-intellectual, but decidedly anti-intellectual.

With this in mind, I proudly present my list of country song titles. Now in new, improved, alphabetical order. Maybe you’ll see what I mean just by reading some of these titles.

All the Guys that Turn Me On Turn Me Down
Are You Drinkin With Me Jesus? the song contains the truly touching lyrics:
”Does your head pound Jesus as hung over you do rise….how does paradise look Jesus, through holy bloodshot eyes…
Should we take a cab home Jesus…aw man we can hoof it from here…
I know you can walk on the water but can you walk on this much beer?”
At the Gas Station of Love, I Got the Self Service Pump
Beauty is Only Skin Deep, but Ugly Goes Clean to the Bone
Billy Broke My Heart at Walgreens and I Cried All the Way to Sears
Come out of the Wheatfield Nellie, You’re Going Against the Grain
Did I Shave my Legs for This?
Don’t Give Me A Plastic Saddle ‘Cuz I Want To Feel That Leather When I Ride
Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goal Posts Of Life.)

Feelin’ Single and Drinkin’ Doubles

Four on the Floor and a Fifth Under the Seat
Get Off The Stove,Grandma, You’re Too Old To Ride The Range
He Went To Sleep and The Hogs Ate Him (Now Claude’s Gone Forever)
How Can I Get Over You if You Won’t Get Out from Under Me?
How Did You Get so Ugly Overnight?
I Don’t Care if it Rains or Freezes ‘Long as I Have My Plastic Jesus Sittin’ on the Dashboard of my Car
I Fell for Her, She Fell for Him, and He Fell for Me
I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart
I Spent My Last Ten Dollars on Birth Control and Beer
I Still Miss You Baby…  But My Aim is Getting Better
Wanna Be A Blue Light Special In The K Mart Of Your Heart
I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me

I Wish I Were A Woman (So I Could Go Out With A Guy Like Me)
I Wouldn’t Take Her To A Dawg Fight, Cause I’m Afraid She’d Win
I’d Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
If I’d Killed You When I Wanted To, I’d be Out of Jail By Now
If I Had a Nose Full of Nickels, I’d Sneeze Them All Atchoo!
I’ll Marry You Tomorrow, But Let’s Honeymoon Tonight.
I’ve Got the Cob, If You’ve Got the Corn
I Would Kiss You Through the Screendoor but It’d Strain Our Love
Meet Me In the Gravel Pit, Honey, cuz I’m a Little Boulder There
My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field, While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart
Queen Of My Double-Wide Trailer
Redneck Martians Stole My Baby

Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer

Thanks To The Cathouse, I’m In The Doghouse With You

There Ain’t Enough Room in my Fruit Of The Looms to Hold All My Lovin’ For You
They May Put Me In Prison, But They Can’t Stop My Face From Breakin’ Out
Walk Out Backwards Slowly So I’ll Think You’re Walking In
We Feed Our Babies Onions So We Can Find ‘Em In The Dark
When You Wrapped My Lunch in a Road Map, I Knew You Meant Good-Bye
You Done Me Wrong, But at Least You Done Me!
You’d think my Bed was a Bus Stop, the Way You Come and Go
You’re The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly

Autumn is a Second Spring, Where Every Leaf Becomes a Flower

The last few days have been harbingers of the coming fall, more like September than August. The sun has barely shone, but when it did, it bounced off the leaves obliquely, like autumn sunlight tends to do. It illuminated the already changing leaves, many losing their green and beginning to tend toward yellow. The air has been cool and damp, and the rain sometimes has seemed as though it would never stop. The sky, a leaden gray with an occasional streak of blue, offering an ominous backdrop, portending the nearing end of summer.

When I was young, summer was my favorite season. I could play every day and didn’t have to go home just because it was getting dark. I went to sleep later and slept longer. On weekends we did the myriad of chores that had eluded us all week, such as mowing, gardening, and cutting wood for the eventual winter. After a day of work, we often went to the drive-in on a Saturday night, or popped up a big bowl of popcorn and played board games or euchre. Saturday suppers were casual, usually hamburgers and soup, or something made on the grill. Sunday was almost always chicken with all the trimmings, either at our house, or the house of a relative or family friend. Sundays were social days, and even church then was a social event, not some fundamentalist pipe dream.

I played baseball all summer long, either in one or more leagues of some description, or pick up games and practices with a handful of friends. Many days were spent flyfishing in a nearby stream or pond. Even more were spent sitting in the shade of a willow tree reading Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, or some other novel of adventure or derring do. A shade tree and a good book was our version of air conditioning when the house was too hot to hold us. Summer lazed along when you were young, and fall always seemed far away until one day you woke up and it was there.

Winter back then was my second favorite season. I loved snow. We could go sledding or tobogganing, build snow forts, and have snowball fights. If we were really lucky, there’d be a snow day, the consummate gift. Christmas, every kid’s favorite day, was in the winter.

When the heat was struggling to warm the house, I loved the spots where you could sit, hovering over the heat register, thawing out frozen fingers and toes. On freezing mornings, I’d write my name or draw pictures in the frost on the windows. Winter was the cozy season with warm blankets on the bed under which you could build up enough body heat to stay toasty until morning roused you from the warmth.

Even though it meant back to school, fall was magnificent. All about us was a canopy of yellow leaves with a dappled sun. The woods were alive with the flame of the yellow, orange, and red leaves that too soon would be gone.

Saturdays were for raking and burning leaves. My father, and every father, stood, rake in hand, as the leaves burned in huge piles. With the rake he kept moving the leaves into the fires. Small smoke signals rose into the air. The dry leaves curled then burned, and we’d watch. I still remember that smell. It stayed on my jacket and in my hair a long time. Sometimes even now, I can still smell it, even when there are no leaves to burn. The fall had Halloween, the second best day for kids. Fall was the crisp season when the air got colder and the days shorter. We put away the shorts and tee shirts of summer and became reacquainted with the wool sweaters and corduroy trousers we had nearly forgotten since early spring.

The best part of spring was shedding snow boots, mittens and heavy winter jackets. Windows were opened and breezes blew away the stale air. The grass grew. Flowers poked through the dirt. The world woke, and every day it got prettier. Spring was life reaffirming itself.

Spring, the harbinger of summer, came in fits and starts, however. One day warm and mild, the next, bitter, breezy, spitting snow, ice crystals, or cold rain drops. But it smoothed out, became summer, and was soon forgotten.

Fall, now my favorite of all the seasons, is almost upon us, as said earlier. While the passing of summer has come too quickly, and creates a certain amount of ennui and a sense of lost opportunities, the promise of autumn brings all the colors, smells, and sounds that have come to define my childhood memories. It is those sights and sounds that now seem most memorable, and it is their reappearance that returns me to that place and time where my best memories still reside.

My Grandma Used To Say…

My Grandma used to say…
well lots of things she said,
and as a child I listened,
and some of it’s still in my head.
“When the rain pours down,
it’s the angels shedding tears,”
or so she said back then,
across the chasm of the years.
And yesterday I wondered,
as her words came back once more,
from gray skies it thundered,
through continuous downpour,
if she could have known,
if in her wisdom she was right,
that angel’s tears were flowing
just beyond our earthly sight.
For there is plenty reason
that angel tears would descend,
when they witness human cruelty,
and perversion without end.
If they cry for the children,
who suffer every day,
abused, ignored, abandoned,
and pushed out of the way,
and also for the children
sick and hungry from their birth,
angel tears would surely flow
from heaven down to the earth.
If angels cry for innocence
destroyed or even maimed,
by warmongers and their ilk,
who cannot feel ashamed,
for innocents laid to waste
in war’s sulphorous maw,
how could they not cry
at the things that they saw?
If they cry for mankind,
knowing what they know,
at mankind’s reaping
of the discord that we sow,
of all the lying and the cheating,
and all the greed and the hate,
the tears would endless be,
at the knowledge of our fate.

KFC Doubledown

I’m not perfect in my eating habits. Far from it. But I can see no reason to even try the new KFC Doubledown sandwich. So far it is being test marketed only in Rhode Island and Nebraska. We can only hope that it will be so poorly received that it will never see the light of day anywhere else on the planet.

It is reportedly over 1280 calories, more than half from fat, sodium saturated, cholesterol soaked, and another example of why fast food in America is one of the main reasons for chronic health problems. Bacon, two types of cheese, and a “special” sauce stuck between two deep fried, breaded chicken breasts which serve the purpose of a bun in more traditional sandwiches.

I am ridiculously in love with removable flash drives for computer files. They are cheap, quick, portable, easy to use, and are growing increasingly larger in capacity. They are also very personable items, and some of the ones on the market are very creative in their appeal to personalization. Here are a few examples.

No longer do you have to have a lanyard around your neck if you want to wear your flash drive around since this USB Flash Drive Wrist band ($13.99) disguises itself as a wristband that comes in six different colors of red, yellow, blue, green, orange and purple. The USB port doubles as the connector to hold the strap together when wearing it and it sounds fairly durable as the catalog page boasts that the drive is shockproof and moisture proof (we’re assuming moisture from sweat).