Historical Has Become a Cliché

21 03 2010

There was a time when the word “historic” really meant something.

It has become bantered about so much of late by the Democratic folks up in Washington that it has lost its aura, maybe even its original meaning!

Now I am beginning to wonder just what the word means. I am almost afraid to use it, in fact, because it seems to be a presidential or Speaker of the House tradmark. If I use it might I not end up the target of a trademark infringement lawsuit? I do hate court rooms. Too expensive. Only the judge and lawyers make any money. 

Diogenes’ Lantern would burn in vain there. Wonder what it would do on Pelosi’s desk? Or, Obama’s, for that matter?

Of course, Pelosi likes to apply the word to everything she does, too. Did you see the historic gavel in her hand today as she crossed the street for the capital building? Historic! She had her arm hooked to a historic person, too.

Dare the Tea Party or the Republicans dis her Health Care porker. She can call them racists! It’s a convenient label the Dems have for those who oppose their congressional tyranny. See the smile on her face? Pelosi loves cramming it down the American people’s throats!

And what about State’s rights? Pelosi, Obama, and the Democratic congress by their very persistence to push through Health Care legislation say that the State’s have no rights except to do what the Dems say. Scary…scary….scary!

So the word has been highjacked and unless you are Obama or Pelosi or Barny or any self-appreciating high profile personality within the Democratic party, the word simply can not be applied to mean anything else. It’s theirs. Their trademark. Dare we not infringe upon it!

Diogenes’s latern reveals the immenent need for a third party to represent the middle class American. It’s imperative if we are to survive. The Tea Partiers may not be the answer, but they sure see the problem and think something ought to be done about it. Grassroots! I hope it keeps brewing!

In this country it’s a priviledge to be poor, anathama to be rich, and stupid to be middle class.

The middle class pay for the social services the Democrates legislate for the poor. I’ve seen a lot of poor Democratic constituents. I have never seen a poor Democratic congressman or senator.  Might it not be that these politicians rob the middle class to buy the poor’s votes?

Lincoln, oft quoted in many other ways, is totally ignored when he says, “You can’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak.” It appears the Dems want us Americans weak and totally dependent on them.

As this is written the news services are reporting that the Democratic-controlled Congress approves historic (There’s that overworked word again!) legislation extending health insurance to tens of millions of Americans who lack it, cementing a victory for President Obama. A historically happy man retiring to his historic house after a day’s historic work and sleeping in his historic bed. What a historic guy!

But then history is not written by the current media. It will be written by historians who will have a more objective view of the current events. Will they remove the historic mantle from Obama, Pelosi, and the Dems? Or will they write about a historic mess?

Who are these tens of millions of Americans, by-the-way? I assure you it is not middle class America.

Pelosi is writing the rules, Obama is doing the dog-and-pony shows, and we’re footing the bill. It won’t be long before the middle class will be driven into the ranks of the poor. Then where will the Dems come up with all that money they like to spend?

God! Where’s my historic bath tub? My lantern?

Terrorist? Stack or the IRS?

23 02 2010

In all of this has anybody thought to ask whether the tactics employed by the IRS qualify it as a terrorist organization?

Ask your neighbor. Ask the person on the street. Any small business man. Overwhelmingly, terror of the IRS is their response. The IRS has the power to destroy and does. The common people are powerless against such a powerful federally sanctioned predator!

Stack is not justified for fighting terror with terror.

Using evil to combat evil complicates and confuses the issues. In this day and time we need less complication and more clear minded, determined heads to resolve the issues that face us, especially as regards the IRS and our out of control federal spending.

But somehow, we Americans must get something more from this than whether Stack may or may not be a terrorist.

It takes two to tango. Fist fights occur between two polarized parties – one seeking to oppress, another desperately seeking freedom from oppression. Polarization is the IRS. It is the tool the feds use to get funds from the public. Most people don’t mind paying reasonable taxes. But they do mind being bulldogged by an organization that has grown fat and unreasonably greedy.

Obviously, Stack in desperation sought freedom from an oppressive IRS. Did he do it the right way? Not in Hud’s opinion.

Fighting evil with evil may produce results, but never peaceably. It only raises the feds fear of disgruntled people and typically a more oppressive response. Then a people’s rebellion and subsequently a bloody mess!

Stack was a desperate man driven to rage against an oppressor. He fought his oppressor the only way he knew how.

Does that make him a terrorist?

Right now there are some people and some groups that would like to think so, including some of our government officials like U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, who finance their “pork” with IRS begotten funds.

But history will provide the final answer for that question. And history is typically written by the victor.

The big question is whether the victor will be the federal government for whom the IRS works or the common people who comprise the electorate in this country. 

Can the electorate force the feds to bridle the IRS?

Hud repeats, “Only History will tell!”

Stack was obviously “mad as hell” and would not take it any more. Let’s hope the electorate chooses the vote.  A “mad as hell” electorate provokes images that are terrifying and chaotic, something the feds would fear and find necessary to suppress. As we all know, the bigger the man the the bigger the whopping.

And as Hud sees it, this would be a very bad thing.

Whose Call to Action Will Obama Follow?

17 11 2009

How should the American people feel about Obama’s Presidency when 60% of us consider his selection for the Nobel Peace prize unmerited, even ridiculously contrived?

Though some would contend otherwise, I say the question is not Obama’s veracity so much as it is the veracity of the committee that gave him the nomination in the first place. And for what reason? A question all Americans, liberals and conservatives alike, should ponder deeply.

If the Nobel committee is seeking the cooperation of the United States, it must appeal to the American voter. Obama is the President because of the voters. This does not make us vermin following a pied piper as, perhaps, this seemingly presumptuous Nobel committee may wish to think. 

If Obama is moved to a “call to action” because of an honor conferred on him by five committee members who are not even citizens of the United States, then one must question his true allegiance to the American voter.

Did we not send Obama a “call to action” when we voted him into the office of President? Does the Nobel committee’s call supersede the call of the American people? We confer power on an American President to lead by will of the American people, not by the will of some foreign influence.

Some men’s torts precede them while some men’s torts follow after. Obama’s conduct in the days ahead will answer that question for us if it has not already.  Will we be better for his Presidency or worst for it?

I pray for the former. But a man led by flattery presents very little hope for those who have put their trust in him.

Trying to Figure It Out! Erasmus Would Praise the Folly of It All!

15 11 2009

Besides this blog I am doing another one.

I thought I had this blogging thing figured out. Between the two blogs, however, I find that I am woefully lacking in blogging experience – not the writting, mind you, but the mechanics of blogging. You know, how to press the right buttons for the bells and whistles I’d like to see on my blog.

I have about worn out the keys on my keyboard inputting and deleting stuff. And when I think I’ve got it figured out I find that I’m really somewhere between Mars and the furthest end of the universe scratching my head wondering just what in the @#%@# have I done!

Well, at least I think I’ve got the literate thing down. But I must admit that even though I feel literate I still feel really stupid when I can’t seem to figure out the mechanics of blog design! Keep trying, I guess. Just have to keep trying until I understand the technical ins and outs of blogging design and presentation.

Well, if Erasmus was still around, I think somewhere in his book In Praise of Folly I would find something he’d have written about my pitiful efforts at this blogging thing! What an interesting read that would be!

Death of a Blogger

23 04 2008

Authur Miller would have written the play if he were alive today.

There’s no question about that. The question, however, would be not whether Authur Miller would write the play, but whether he could live through the writing of it.

You see, all writers are bloggers; have been since people began writing. The difference is the medium. Instead of writing on cave walls in prehistoric times, papyrus, parchment, and finally paper, men and women today write on a computer screen and post their writings on virtual pages somewhere out in the digital nether world of the internet for others to read.

Just as writers are bloggers, so bloggers are writers. And the same malady that once plagued writers now plagues bloggers – lack of exercise. Cardiovascular exercise in particular.

Matt Richtel’s article points out that several celebrated bloggers have recently died from heart attacks. Another managed to recover. Regardless, that’s too many myocardial infarctions in such a short time in the same industry.

Granted, that’s something to seriously ponder. But what bothers me more is that, despite the detail in Richtel’s article regarding the malady, he does not address the dilemma with a probable solution. Instead he eulogizes the love of blogging, just as Victor Hugo once eulogized writing when writers were paid by the word and their word was ex cathedra. So they slaved over every word, phrase, and page until they grew fat, went insane, or dropped dead from, you got it, heart attack.

It does not take a Mayo clinician to figure things like this out. The solution might just be in walking or some aerobic exercise for just twenty minutes every other day. Something to get your heart rate up enough to keep your arteries cleared and your heart muscle strong.

The main thing is to get away from the computer for a few minutes. I know, I know, it’s hard to do. But if you want to continue writing beyond age fifty or sixty that’s something a blogger just has to do.

There’s money in blogging, obviously. There’s also, as Richtel points out, a lot of stress and addiction to the trade. Any writer understands this and most writers understand the need for exercising the old body, keeping it healthy, eating the right foods. But, writers if they really are writers can become total lovers of their trade and forget to do those things that promote a longer, productive life.

It’s true, some writers beat the odds. But why take the chance? Get some exercise. Don’t play out Authur Miller’s story line for Death of a Salesman. Think of all the blogging you can do if you do the things that provide for a healthier lifestyle.

There is money to be made in the blogging business, but not for those who put themselves on the fast track to burnout. Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant apparently bit the dust early because of it. Bloggers can learn from this. They need not become the fodder of a storyline for a playwright like Authur Miller.

Get some exercise! Blogging doesn’t have to be the death of you.

See Richtel’s article. Click on the link:

In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop

Critiquing Floridian One – Is Bee Time Prime Time?

23 04 2008

I am interested in bees. I used to keep them. They are interesting little creatures. Most people don’t know it but once you’ve been stung a time or two you tend to develop immunity to bee sting. In other words, for most people, the sting doesn’t hurt any more though it can be a bit painful getting there.

So the story appeals to me. It’s because I like bees. I’ve raised them and I know the little things about how they swarm, why they swarm, and how to catch them and provide them with their own little protected place where they can produce honey. And, needless-to-say, I like to eat the stuff they produce. Most people do even if they don’t like bees.

But the story, though interesting, is not really that emotional. It’s just informative. Of course, you do feel for the families who live in the streets because their homes have been foreclosed on. Even as interested as I am in bee keeping and the fact that these foreclosed homes in Florida provide a place for swarming bees to live, the clip struggles to hold my interest for the duration of its run.

The video runs exactly 4 minutes and twenty-five seconds – a little long for a focus piece on bees. I would have liked to see more about the displaced families due to foreclosure and a little less of the bees.

Very little action; but, the storyline transitioned smoothly. I also liked the quality of video and the sequence of scene presentation. But I did not like that there was so little action. Like I say, the video held my attention because of my experience with bee keeping. But if I were not a bee keeper, I probably would have left the video for something a little more emotional with a little more action that lasted about a minute less.

This is what I think the majority of people would do, especially the younger generation who have been raised on hyperactive video games and glitzy, unrealistic, surrealistic MTV cuts.

So, do I think the video works? Not really. It’s a good documentary; it’s not all that entertaining or emotionally intriguing. It’s just a video about a guy that catches bees in a neighborhood with high foreclosure rates.

Oh, yes! There is a religious and humanitarian element to it which one must appreciate simply because the nun-looking person makes honey to give away and wax candles to use in prayer service. I suppose I should care about that, and I do to some degree, but not enough to watch three minutes of bee catching to get to that part of the video.

All-in-all, I rate the storyline about 3 on a scale from one to ten, even though technically it is well orchestrated with quality images in a pleasing mix of edited video and stills. Perhaps I should give the producer and technical staff an 8 on the same scale.

Go see it. You may agree, maybe not.

The Beekeeper’s Lament
American Album 

Click to watch the video


Porter Halyburton on Service, Duty, Leadership, and Ethics

23 04 2008

It is difficult to relate to a man like Porter Halyburton whose experiences overshadow your own.

He is a man who carries himself well. He chooses his words well. He is obviously an educated man who thinks deeply. From that perspective he immediately commands your attention. You listen closely as he speaks. You expect to hear something profound, a bit of wisdom that will stimulate your own thoughts and provide you with a nugget of truth on which you may build.

And, indeed, he does deliver. But you don’t expect how he says he learned what he shares about service, duty, leadership, and ethics. There is a sense that prison doesn’t seem like a place where one learns these things. But seven years in a North Viet Nam prison infamously called the “Heartbreak Hotel” quite obviously presented Halyburton with living examples of those who served and led with unwavering devotion to duty and ethics under the most despicable and humiliating conditions.

For instance, he told about a black Air Force officer, Fred Cherry, who was moved in with him after he prayed for companionship. Cherry’s courage and patriotism inspired Halyburton who viewed Cherry as an “excellent role model” to follow. And there was an officer named Percy who at the risk of torture and death performed a remarkable feat of feeding two other men who were being deliberately starved to death in solitary confinement.

It was courageous acts by men like these that helped Halyburton and others entering the North Viet Nam prison system to realize that the one freedom his captors could not take from them was “choosing your attitude.” Their lives were determined by this realization and so they made choices that, in spite of their captivity, gave them some control of their lives through the choices they made.

Choosing your attitude is one freedom people cannot take from you. This means that when others try to rob your joy, you can choose to remain joyous. If they try debasing and humiliation, you can think of yourself as being wonderfully and beautifully made. You can choose to think on good and pleasant things, to remain positive when circumstances are bad. This sustains a healthy self-image and forward-thinking attitude – the stuff of life and of success in any “trial by fire” circumstance!

“To give up this choice,” said Halyburton, “means that somebody else has control of your life, but if you choose your attitude you will not become a victim. You can survive with honor. And that is the ultimate goal. That was ours as prisoners in Heartbreak Hotel.”

Halyburton then made a rather profound statement, “The most important lesson I learned from the seven years I spent in Heartbreak Hotel is that choice lies in the essence of leadership.”


Carrying Political Promises

2 04 2008

Adept as our politicians are at spouting off political promises, especially when seeking election or re-election, Robert Cornish, a local business man, is just as adept at carrying them off. He said he figured it out one day over a couple of bottles of beer.

He said his unique way of conveying this message to the public gets him five or six calls a day from amused and sometimes curious drivers, some who end up buying his services.

“Doing what I do,” said Cornish, “you’ve got to have fun with it. What better way to advertise my business while poking fun at all these promises we get from our politicians. It makes everybody laugh, even some of the politicians I know.”

In three cryptic words, ruddy faced and grinning opossum-like, Robert Cornish tells you unabashedly what he does, “I haul shit.” How he started and some of the famous people he’s met along the way while hauling their shit makes for a good Texas-tall tale. Only in his case, it’s for real.

Click on the following link and see for yourself. You’ll get a big kick from it! Cornish is a hoot!



Rene’s Tasty Salsa

27 02 2008

Rene Ortega sustained an on-job injury that eventually cost him his job.

Ortega remembered the old Mexican recipes for salsa his mother used to make. He resurrected his mother’s mild recipe and made a few jars of salsa to sell to friends and neighbors. It would bring in a little money, he reasoned, while he was off work.

The salsa turned out to be a hit and his friends and neighbors asked for more. So, he made more.

By the time his employer told him he no longer had a job, Ortega had a customer base of 4500 people, not only in his neighborhood, but throughout the city, Texas, US, and even some remote areas of the world.

He called his salsa, Rene’s Mild Tasty Salsa. Now Frito Lay is considering it for mass marketing throughout the United States.

“I am not rich from it yet,” says Ortega. “But, at least, it does provide a little much needed income to support my family.”


“In Cold Blood” – Capote’s Legacy to Literary Journalism

7 02 2008

I had just turned 13 years old in November of 1959 when the Clutter family was brutally murdered in their farm house outside Garden City, Kansas. Growing up in South Texas ranching country where a boy and his dog could spend days hunting and exploring the woods and creeks without ever seeing another soul had not prepared me for the news about the murder of this family.

I still remember the headlines in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. In the little town of Falfurrias, people talked about it everywhere. My friends talked about it at school. We were unaccustomed to hearing about this type of senseless brutality. In the idyllic haze of the 1950s you just didn’t hear or read about things like this.

But then as suddenly as the story appeared, it was forgotten until in January 1966 the story reappeared in the form of a book by Truman Capote. The book, In Cold Blood, was a bold step for Capote into an emerging genre called literary journalism. I was now nineteen and a freshman studying nuclear physics at Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas.

I didn’t buy the book. I didn’t read it even though it was widely talked about and many of my college friends had picked up a copy to read. Even in 1975 when Esquire Magazine published some excerpts from Capote’s book I didn’t read it. I do remember fanning through the pages of the magazine at a now defunct book store in downtown Fort Worth. But I still didn’t read it.

But I was curious about the story. It is interesting how some things stick in your mind and just don’t go away. The Clutter family murder was that way. And you would have thought that since Capote was a family relative I would have read his book. But I didn’t. And there were several reasons for this, the greatest, I suppose, was because Capote’s life-style was something the Persons-Hudson family found extremely distasteful and embarrassing. There may have been other reasons, but they paled in comparison, though they did serve to reinforce my conditioned apathy for the Clutter story once my cousin became involved in it.

And now, this! A whole web site devoted to the legacy of In Cold Blood which ran 3 days in the Lawrence Journal-World beginning Sunday, April 3, 2005. I didn’t even know about it until now. Until this assignment by Lisa! Here I am – I am supposed to write a critique of the site and instead I am totally engrossed, opening and reading each article. It’s now 48 years since the murders and 41 years since the first issue of In Cold Blood and I find that people are still fascinated with the murders and with Capote’s book. I just wonder what my staunchly Southern Baptist elders would think of Capote now!

The web page is wonderfully organized with story after story of the community and the people whose lives were affected and changed by the event. It goes deep. It covers everything you might want to know about the victims, the murderers, the community, the people, and Capote himself. The site includes a detailed timeline, maps, clips of the real Journal-World stories on the Clutter murders, and a video documentary.

After viewing this site, I must read Capote’s book even if my family patriarchs and matriarchs turn over in their graves. You may want to take a look at it too. This story spawned in Capote a genre we today call literary journalism. Though he wasn’t the first, he was among the pioneers to explore this new form of journalistic storytelling.

Go here to view page: