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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I have just been thinking (not necessarily a dangerous process, but. . . ) I just watched a television commercial, I think by Chrysler, which advertises a lifetime power train warranty on an automobile, and it made me think. I used to sell low heat, stainless steel cookware made by Reynolds Metals called Lifetime Stainless Steel Cookware. It was good stuff and quite expensive but it offered a lifetime guarantee. One of the examples given (and it was true, I checked it out) was someone whose house burned down and they found, in the wreckage a set of Lifetime Stainless, encrusted in ash with the bakelite handles turned into crispy critters. The set was returned to Reynolds and they polished it up, replaced the handles, and it was as "good as new". I was impressed.

Reynolds Metals, alias Reynolds Aluminum has been through ownership changes, alliances with other industries etc. I wonder if the lifetime guarantee still would even be remembered, let alone honored. Whose lifetime does a lifetime guarantee include? The original purchaser? The piece of equipment, the company ? (Remember the Ginsu Knife ads on TV with the lifetime guarantee. Does Ginsu Knife company even exist?) One of my friends used to kid me when I was schlepping cookware that the lifetime guarantee applied to the life of the implement. When when the pot or pan died, the guarantee was void.

On this basis, Coppertop batteries could be given a lifetime guarantee. When the battery dies, the guarantee expires. On the other hand, it might be for the life of the original owner. That seems more practical than the life of the company. Can you imagine going to a used car lot for a 2008 Chrysler (in 2115) and having the salesman chanting "It is still under warranty." Or it might be for the life of the company but how many companies were major companies twenty years ago that don't even exist today, or if they do exist they are like Kraft Foods (a minor division of a tobacco company). Of course we still try to trust the concept that the guarantee is for the life of the company, in which case, who would like to bet 20,000 dollars that Chrysler will still be around in twenty years, let alone for the full lifetime of one of our younger readers. I have family that invested in Geneva Steel, one of the great companies of America, only to see the company disappear completely in a very few years.

We live in a world where guaranties and warrantees are given freely, but are always open to questions and interpretations. What happens to the guaranteed pension plan when the company that offered it files Chapter Eleven Bankruptcy? Owning shares in a company has an implied guarantee that as long as the company exists, your ownership is valid. Tell that to the thousands of shareholders in Kmart who saw their ownership dissolve in Chapter Eleven. When the company became a part of Sears, how much of Sears do the old shareholder have?

We are so dependent on our trust of others but the word of others is so fragile. The only real guarantee or warranty that we can depend on is the one that we give to ourselves. Those of us who are people of faith also depend on the warranty or guarantee of a loving Father in Heaven or the Atoning Grace of Jesus Christ, but our world is filled with many who will accept the warranty from Chrysler, but who feel that those of use who accept spiritual warrantees are nuts or gullible.

Countries make promises, some of which are kept and some which are not. Governments do the same. Our friends do the same. Companies do the same. I wonder why I feel so absolutely trusting in the promises made in scripture. Certainly I have blog friends who think I am one of the most gullible.

In the words of a character in a play I directed many years ago, "It's a puzzlement."

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I have stated that I am not going to write about politics, but there are times when I feel like I need to talk about issues. I have to preface my little rant with the reminder that I haven’t written much about the immigration situations since my fourth or fifth post on the blog. This is, in part, because I have mixed feelings about the situation, and, in part because I can’t really cope with the wild generalizations set forth as argument by both my wingnut and moonbat blogger friends. I mean generalizations like : “They are all already criminals, they broke the law when they entered the United States.” This claim is made baldfaced by people who break the law themselves. Look at yourselves in the mirror. When was the last time anyone drove a car any distance without breaking at least three traffic laws. How many of these claims are made by folks who have NEVER carried home from work a tool, or some paper, or some pens, or played a game of solitare in the office, or looked up a porn newsgroup on the company computer. . . you get the idea. Most of us try to obey the law all the time, but income tax returns are so complex that I doubt that any American Citizen has ever filed a tax return (except maybe the short form) without breaking some law about which someone could make accusations. I get antsy about anyone who talks about a individuals, automatically adding them to a group or subgroup then uses the term THEY, then attibutes characteristics to them just because they are placed in the group, as if all members of the group were created with identical molds or templates.

On the other hand, the temerity of a city or other governmental body declaring itself a place where people have sanctuary from the enforcement of federal law just infuriates me. This is even more irritating because they are selective about which laws the sanctuary protects from. Immigrations laws, Okay, but kidnapping and bank robbing we aren’t sure we want to make subject to the sanctuary.

I even get a little crazy about the repeated chant of “SECURE THE BORDER” by people who don’t have a clue about the implications of a truly secure border. Between 1954 and 1967 I often lived where I could ride my bicycle to see a “secure“ border; the one between Finland and the Soviet Union. It was a chilling sight with a tall, electrified, fence with plowed and harrowed ground on both sides so that footprints could be seen in the soft dirt. There were guard towers at regular intervals with guards that were willing to shoot those attempting to cross, and YOU KNOW WHAT? Some people were willing to put their lives on the line and some still crossed the border, or found ways to get across- - and, we Americans called them heroes. And I don’t want to live in a land with truly secured borders because that kind of control spreads to medicine, to jobs, to schools and all kinds of other governmental or quasi- governmental systems.

Now that I have ticked off all my friends, I can write about the subject that brought me to the computer. I have a niece who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where her husband has a thriving dental practice.. A few months ago, they decided to buy a new home and move to another part of the community. When they entered their kids in school, they discoved that in the new school, classes, for EVERYONE, are taught for half a day in English, and for the other half day in Spanish. These are not “English as a second language, or Spanish as a second language” classes, these are the classes in Math, Science and other core classes.
Their daughter, a first grader found this fun and exciting. The son, a fifth grader found it depressing to go from being one of the honor students in his previous school to be struggling to maintain a C average because he didn’t understand what in the h*ll his teachers were saying most of the time. This is one of the stupidest, least ethical and destructive educational practices I have ever heard of. To arrange a special class where numbers of students who don’t speak English might learn English is, to me, a salutory idea. I also think that Americans ought to learn foreign languages in order to function in what hs become a world marketplace. I once had a fair reading knowledge of both Russian and Spanish, am still fairly fluent in Finnish, and was able to, sort of, Pidgeon Swedish my way across Sweden, and expect that with a little more training I will someday be able to understand the English of stage comedians and bus conductors from Great Britain. I have one son fluent in Korean and minimally functional in French, another, fluent in Spanish, and he has had Army Language School training in Russian. Another son who is fluent in Japanese and who was, a number of years ago semi-functional in German. I believe in foreign languages, but this program in Las Vegas is the type of thing that will Balkanize the United States and continue what is already a frightening process of dividing us into hyphenated Americans.

I may feel more tolerant than most about the degree of –even unlawful—immigration into our country, and the prospect of deporting, or otherwise exporting 12,000,000 people who, in spite of the luddites and lump brains who keep claiming that “They are being medicated and educated on My dime”, are making a significant positive imprint upon our economy, paying a LOT of local, state and federal taxes. (Ask the city administrations of those towns where the feds have closed down major industries because too many of the workers were undocumented) and the picture of millions of men women an children shipped by train or bus to another country is reminiscent of Nazi Germany to me. But the idea of changing our nation to fit their culture(s) and their language (s) is repellent to me, and dangerous to us all. If individuals wish to come, learn to be Americans, learn the language (In the State of Washington one can vote in as many as four different languages), become citizens, then I, for one, welcome them. If they want to come and expect us to cater to them culturally and otherwise, I vote for sending them home. (When everyone I know, from both political sides had quit throwing bombs at me, I will come out from under the bed and post again.

Friday, August 10, 2007


The Vancouver area of Washington is garage sale central, and one of the things I did when I first arrived here was to go out garage “sailing”. (See, Saur. I told you that if I were in Florida when you held your sale you’d have made a fortune.) I couldn’t buy much since I was to fly back to Georgia in a few weeks, and you can only take so much stuff, but that doesn’t stop me from shopping.

I ran across a large box of needle-sculpted cloth dolls, some dressed and some not, and became aware that the lady selling them had made them all, called them “Space Kidets” and had written a series of children’s books in which the dolls were characters. She was now selling them at discount price (They sold for two bucks, and no one could get me to needle-sculpt those things for less than- - well, not for two bucks.) They were major league cute and well made so I bought a couple for the local granddaughters. An hour later I realized that I should have bought a bunch for my great grandchildren in Florida, so I went back, but they had sold out.

The next house had, what I would call frou-frou hammers. The lady there had taken wooden handled hammers and decorated them with lace, ribbons, paint, and assorted types of crystals. She said that men bought them for their wives on the premise that the wife would do her own repairs to keep the men from messing up their hammers. False hope, I’m afraid, but they were different and fun.

Many of the sales had craft items but others were just traditional sales of used stuff from around the house. I bought a book for a quarter that was titled “1401 MORE THINGS THAT P*SS ME OFF”. It was filled with the things one would expect, like: “when lettuce turns into a brown, semi-liquid mass in the refrigerator; being the back half of a horse costume;” and “ when someone tells your kid there is no Santa.” Talk about light reading, but it made me think about some of the things that p*ss me off.

I have discussed bastard socks in a previous post, but they rank high in my “p*ss me off” scale. I have also written about women who show “plumber’s butt” when they bend over, but earlier this week, in a very nice Tex-Mex restaurant called Chevy’s here in Vancouver, WA, (what “Chevy” has to do with Tex Mex food is beyond me) there was a young lady sitting with her back to me in the restaurant who was showing “plumber’s butt” just sitting down and waiting for her food. Talk about something that can spoil your appetite.

Some things hit the P-O scale for coots that are not as serious for whipper-snappers of forty or so. When you race your buggy (coots like to walk behind buggies even when they aren’t shopping because its easier to walk while holding on to something.) anyway, when one races the buggy clear across Wal-Mart, getting to the rest room just barely (or even not quite) on time, and some overweight doofus with curly red hair steps in front of you, with a smirk, to put down an orange cone on the floor and place a sign on the door that the restroom is closed for cleaning. I suppose it is crude to have an intense desire (or even necessity) to pee in someone’s shoe. I suspect that somewhere on HIS P-O. list is old coots who kick the cone out of the way and go into the closed restroom to do business anyway. (shocking the female custodian who is in there mopping the floor.)

We all have irritations that are unique to us, and we share some that seem to affect everyone else. On the other hand there are small pleasures that we choose to have. I was walking through the Vancouver mall this afternoon when I had to reflect on my feeling that there are almost no ugly women in the world. Big or small, short or tall, skinny or plump, women are an amazingly attractive group of critters. One elderly lady on one of these motorized scooters was putting along with such a beautiful look of purpose and dignity that I was stunned. I am amazed when so many men with beer bellies are walking along with absolutely gorgeous women, and similarly when apparent jocks are hand in hand with women that are well into the XXL sizes. It only means that we are all attracted to different things. My dear one now walks so tentatively and has so many problems since having surgery and suffering through two strokes, but she is amazingly beautiful to me, more so, I think, than when we were younger. She is sitting across the room, reading a book as I write this, and looking at her almost takes my breath away. She complains that her hair doesn’t look right, that her shoes don’t look good since one leg is somewhat swollen since the surgery, and worries about her makeup, her skin, and even her wardrobe, and she is just ---- so beautiful to me.

As long as I am talking about beauty, I have trouble imagining any good reason why so many women wear the clothes that they do. Wearing clothes that emphasize the belly button and the flesh around it, whether covered or uncovered is really somewhat sexy, but almost totally unflattering, and so many women walk as if the clothing is dictating the posture, the stance, even the random movement of breathing. With such wonderful raw material to work with, so many beautiful women seem to be determined to create pictures worthy of Elvis paintings on black velvet.

Well, I have insulted almost everyone now, I think I will quit for the day. My next post will be my final post dealing with my trip to Gatlinburg for the Gaither Family Fest, and the one following that ??????? Who knows? Maybe I will think of something else to fit my P-O. list.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I haven’t really had the energy to deal with computers for a few days. I sold my home in Georgia, bought a new home and went through the process of trying to move. As I mentioned before, I got sick of sorting and unpacking and going back to the old house to clean it and organize it so my dear one and I ran away to go to Washington State to see the children and grandchildren that live there. This was partially motivated by the fact that all four of my grandchildren were scheduled to perform in the New Blue Parrot Children’s Theatre production of JOSEPH AND HIS AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT.

I watched rehearsals, and watched it pull together into a really effective show (somewhat amazing with a cast that ranged in age from 6 to eighteen years old) and I was proud of the people in my family who helped make it happen.

About eight days after we arrived, my son closed on a new house of his own, so I found that I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. (The main difference being that I moved the two of us from a 2700 square foot home into one less than 2000 square feet, and I am helping him move the six of them from a 2600 square foot home into just less than 3000 square feet.—but which seems, so help me--smaller) I have lost a lot more weight, become physically stronger, and am beginning to wonder what all the problem was back in Georgia. In addition to which his cabel modem is still in the old house and his new one won't come for a week (comcast?)

IN this time, I have spent some time in Home Depot and cabinet shops and dealing with folks who are supposed to ready the old home for sale, etc.. I was trying to re-stain a worn spot on the edge of the kitchen cabinet, and I was shocked to discover that the ends (not the doors and the showy parts) of cabinets that are built for and installed in homes designed to sell in the four hundred thousand dollar range are not even made of a piece of plywood veneer, but of composition board with the wood grain appearance created by, what amounts to, a decal. (The lady at one cabinet shell assured me that their term for this was not “decal,” but “film” and to have a damaged “film” repaired costs more that using real wood.)

Really new houses nowadays are filled with parts made of FAKE wood. Not even pressed sawdust composition board but truly fake wood. I took a sander to work on a damaged window sill in the old house (six years old) and it quickly became apparent that this was not even plastic but some fake wood, identified not by name but a- - -You guessed it- -- ACRONYM. Pxj or Pby or Sci fi, or something like that. (I refuse to even remember acronyms.).

I am not a totally ignorant dummy (how do you like that redundancy?). I drive by new constructions and see the exteriors made up of , what amounts to, chips of wood glued together under pressure. I have even used some of this (again identified by an acronym) stuff and have found that it isn’t bad. It even has some advantages over some types of plywood, but there are NO advantages (other than saving the contractor money) in fake wood or fake wood covered in decals.

I should be careful of my criticism since I have used a laminate, which is, in a way, a fake wood- -You know, he Pergo type stuff—to cover a kitchen floor, and liked it better than linoleum, but the linoleum wasn’t wood and--- oh heck I surrender. Coots are always sure that it was better the way they used to do it, and conservative coots are even more sure.. Of course I sculpt in polymers, so I know that --- Oh heck. I want everything the way it used to be, especially me. (Age forty would be a good place to return to.)