Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm going out into the snow today, it's Christmas Eve. It's a very special day people.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Take Her Out to the Ball Game

My sister Graduated from the Southern Illinois University this week! We're really proud of her, especially because she decided to go back to school so many years later.

Melissa attended the SIU over thirty years ago, and we shared a trailer for a semester. I studied math and and science, she studied English. Life has a way of side-tracking us from our goals, she went her way and I went mine. Neither of us got our degrees...

But, when she bought a home near the campus, she decided to finish what she had started so long ago. And now she's done it! Caps, gowns and all of that!

Our niece decided to celebrate the event by taking Melissa to baseball game in St Louis. Both are huge Cardinal fans. This is a pic my niece posted on Facebook ( ok, I snagged it ! ). The Cards lost the game, but that didn't bother the girls too much.

Congratulations Melissa!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Passing the Hat for Roger

The hat made it's way from table to table in the break area, half filled ( or half empty? ) with dollar bills. It was payday and several whispered remarks echoed the sentiment, "I wish I had more but I haven't cashed my check yet, will you be doing this again next week?" I put my dollar in the hat as my thoughts drifted back to the many days Roger and I had worked together.

He enjoyed working, and his attitude was encouraging to all of those around him. Rare was the day that I didn't see him in the break area or the parking lot with his hands full of cd's, t-shirts or something to sell. The man was forever busy, and looking to make a dollar. And he was honest.

They found Roger face down in a ditch last week, with a bullet in the back of his head. The police have found the van he used to shuttle workers from Jackson County to the Pasta Plant were he had worked until he started his own shuttle company. No one heard the shot, no one in the neighborhood knew Roger. Those who live in that Housing Project are tight lipped.

He was a Family Man, Christian, Conservative and black. I didn't capitalize the word black, because I don't think Roger would have liked that. Roger was a Business Man that just happened to be born black in a white community.

There's a big hole where Roger used to stand. No one is sure how this happened ( yet ), but we all know there will be hell to pay when the truth does come out ( and it will ). It's going to be a long hot summer here. The heat is on.

It's Monday, and I've had time to think about all of this. I'll be talking to Marge, she was the last passenger Roger dropped off, and one of the last to speak with him. She will have the hat, and I'll have a few more dollars to send to his family. She may also have some news.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Junior Has a New Home

There was a knock at the door about an hour ago, and now one of my pups has left for his new home. Not far away, but not close by either.

Junior was the second of four to go, and I know the remaining two will go sooner or later. There just isn't room here for them. Room in our hearts, space in our fenced yard, but the house just isn't big enough. He'll be going to an older couple's home just outside of town, where he'll have the room and love he deserves and needs. That's all good, but I miss him already.

I'm not going to pick favorites anymore, and I'm not going to name them either. They're whelped here, weaned here, and then they go away. They don't usually go far, and we nearly always keep in touch with their new owners. That's what brought the knock to our door, a lady with one of our pups brought an old friend of hers to us because her friend's husband had lost his dog the other day ( he doesn't know that he's getting a puppy yet ). I hope he keeps the name Junior.

I'm going to find out her husband's name tomorrow ( probably Bubba, Boo, or Billy-Bob ). I have no idea why some hulking, red-neck, back-hoe driving dude would ever want a wiener dog...but it doesn't matter because I'm not doing this anymore. Two more pups, and that's it for me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Marvelous Game

I've been playing a marvelous game on-line for the last month or so. Tribal Wars seems to be all about conquest, exploitation and domination. Marvelous!

Starting with a village that supplies you with resources ( wood, clay and iron ), and building an army to pillage the resources of neighboring barbarian villages ( those that aren't blessed with a tyrant such as myself ) so that you can research and develop more and better soldiers and weapons to explore and exploit more distant villages. Marvelous!

When you're secure in your military strength, feel free to attack other tyrants! Or, if your not so secure join them in a larger quest against even larger groups of villages ( Tribes ). Marvelous!

I did well in the first several weeks, exploiting, building and researching to the point where it seemed worthwhile to join a tribe and take the game to a higher level. It took about a week for the tribe and I to get to know enough about each other, and then wham, they turned on me and decimated my original village. Not so Marvelous...

But that's ok, I've learned a valuable lesson; it's not by honorable conquest and subjugation of barbarians alone that elevates a tyrant. One needs to treacherous and conniving as well. I suspect that the greatest reward from this marvelous game will be the opportunity to slip a dagger in the back of my closest ( and most powerful ) ally. Marvelous!

All things considered Tribal Wars provides a marvelous provides a marvelous alternative to reading the news about the real world, and real people. Damn Marvelous!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Stew Without Onions

I've been following several conversations on several Multiply Groups that remind me of a story I heard years ago; A lady wanted to make a stew, so she set off to the Grocery Store with a list;
  • potatoes,
  • tomatoes,
  • onions,
  • carrots and
  • stew meat.
She found nearly everything with no problems, but could not find any onions. She asked the kid that was stocking the shelf in the Produce Section if there were any onions.

The polite young man shook his head and told her the truck wouldn't be in till the next day. Disappointed, the lady took everything ( minus the onions ) to the check-out counter and asked the clerk the same question.

She got the same polite answer, with the advice that she should come back the next day. She went home disappointed and very frustrated. On a whim she called the Grocery Store on the telephone and was connected with the manager of the store, and asked him about the onions.

Although the manager was having a very bad day, with trucks being late and customers complaining, he was very diplomatic in his response to the lady's repeated question.
Q: "Ma'am, if you take the Po out of potato, what do you have left?"
A: "Well young man, I suppose you'd have tato."
Q: "That's right ma'am, and if you took the to out of tomato what would you have left?"
A: "I suppose you'd have mato..."
Q; "That's correct ma'am, just one more question. If you took the F out of Onion, what would you have?
A: "Well...I really don't know young man, there's no F in Onion..."
Q: "Now do you understand? There ain't no F' n Onions ! "
And that's how many of the conversations go in the Help Groups I belong to. I just thought I'd share that...

So...if you take the Pe out of Petition, and the Se out of Sedition...what happened to the F in Revolution ?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Out, Into the World

This week, home alone with the wife and dogs has been the best week for a long time. I took the trash out Tuesday Night, other-wise I haven't been out of the door! I'll be going out today, but just to the Pasta Plant to pick-up my paycheck ( I'm on vacation ), a carton of cigarettes and maybe some hooch if the wife doesn't complain too much.

The snow started falling late yesterday while I was obsessively following the flame war that erupted several days ago here among some of my on-line buddies. Such a contrast, cool flakes falling silently in the night while hot tempers raged on my monitor. Weird really, watching out the window to see the natural wonder of winter, and watching my monitor to see equally natural heat of human passions. I've been a total voyeur this week, not going out into the former and not really getting involved in the latter.

I woke this morning to find both the outer world and this inner, virtual world at peace, cool and silent. I'm gonna take the camera I think. Just to show some of my on-line buddies that the world abides.

The main roads are clear, though the side streets probably won't get plowed for a day or too. No matter, it's just a few miles to the Pasta Plant. Those folks will be rushed, running and hollering at each other in their efforts to produce, produce produce! Another contrast, me at peace at home and them struggling so. Come next Monday, I'll be back in the thick of that world made so brutal by our own passions and frustrations. But not today...

I'll be back in a few hours. So you folks try to enjoy your world(s) while I'm out there.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gallatin County Sheriff, Wife, and Son Indicted for Solicitation of Murder for Hire

It's getting hot here in Southern Illinois. It may be January, and the ground may be frozen but if you stand next to the jail in Murphysboro you may feel the heat that the Feds have brought to the Heartland. A neighboring Sheriff selling drugs from his squad car and his family plotting to kill witnesses, now that's hot news!

WJBD - Salem ( IL ) has the story:
Gallatin County Sheriff, Wife, and Son Indicted for Solicitation of Murder for Hire: "The Gallatin County Sheriff along with his wife and adult son have all been arrested on Jackson County warrants charging solicitation of murder for hire. The sheriff, 47-year-old Raymond Martin, was already in the Jackson County Jail at Murphysboro on federal indictments for distribution of marijuana and carrying a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking.

The new indictments also charge Martin's 36-year-old wife Kristina and 20-year-old son Cody. They were arrested when they came to visit the former sheriff at the Jackson County Jail on Saturday. Each is being held on one-million dollars bond apiece.

The charges accuse Raymond Martin of conspiring with his wife and son of plotting to have witnesses murdered who were expected to testify at his upcoming drug trial. The witnesses allegedly involved have not been identified.

The solicitation of murder for hire charge is a Class X felony and carry a sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison. Martin has not resigned his job as sheriff in the far southeastern corner of the state."
This story can only get more interesting. I just hope no one gets hurt ( or burnt ) as the drama unfolds.