Sunday, May 5, 2013

I May Have the Pocket Knife Virus...

Yes, I may have the pocket knife virus. No, it's not medically  fatal, though at the present time there is no known anecdote; however, it will leave your checkbook in tatters. Some have suggested 12-Step Programs for those who feel they need help. Some say, just sit back and enjoy it. Others say it's some kind of devil at work. The best I can do is to try to track its history and see how it came about or happened. When did I get infected by the virus?
For the past more than 40 years I've carried a Swiss Army Knife Classic on my key chain. An earlier post has a photo of the Classic.
And, I've for years had a few Case and Buck knives around. A couple of years ago I bought a bunch of SAK (Swiss Army Knife). And, a few months back started filling in my accumulation with the alox models. Over this period of time, the virus was most likely festering, I would occasionally look at knives on the Internet and wonder how in the world people could pay over thirty or forty dollars for a darn knife.
OK, let's see, what happened next? What really allowed the virus to gain the upper hand and thwart all of my, well...common sense, limited as though it is?
Yes, I happened upon a Website devoted to a famous name in the cutlery world from years ago. Yes, two fellows, Mike and Derek, who had been collecting his knives and studying his history, decided to resurrect his name and start manufacturing pocket knives from a bygone era. They were going to drag up out of the ashes, like a Phoenix rising, the name of JBF Champlin who manufactured a complete line of cutlery many years ago. Anyway, go here and take a look even if you have no interest in knives. It's a fascinating story.
In order to do this they met with the folks at Great Eastern Cutlery (GEC). GEC is a fairly new company to the knife world, established just a few years ago. They, GEC, brought back a couple of old names from the early years of the cutlery business; Northwood and Tidioute and started producing quality knives in small quantities, using the best of the old world handmade techniques along with modern precision machinery.
OK, where was I?
Anyway, Mike went to the old factory where the JBF Champlin knives had been made. The roof had literally fallen in...not ready to of it had fallen. As I best remember, he'd gone to the factory hoping to maybe gather up some floor panelling or some type of wood to use in making the knives' handles. Instead, he found a bunch of rosewood blank handles.
Anyway, let me go forward a little bit.
I found out about all of this after they'd (GEC) made the first group of knives. The pattern was known as tear drop and they were made with ebony and stag handles. They'd made 50 of each and they were sold out.
Anyway, found that they were making a second group, fifty each, of a pattern (knife folks seem to call the style of the knife the pattern, I think) called Eureka jack. For this series they were making them in stag and yes, using the redwood Mike had gathered from the factory. OK. I got on the list for one of each. Shortly after I received my knives, the stag being a gift to my brother, Mike called and said he'd located an ebony model from the first group. Yes, I bought that which is in the photo.
And, no I ain't tellin' how much it cost (less than an OK used car).
Anyway, if any of you folks have an interest in getting on the list for the next knife you can find Mike's email address at the JBF Website. Hey, own a piece of history.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Classico Spicy Tomato & Basil...A Decent Sauce...

OK, I goofed this test up. I added a large can of mushrooms and threw in a half package of TVP crumbles and served on angel hair. I think I use Morning Star crumbles; it's a green package.
So, how was the sauce? It was OK...good...actually the large can of mushrooms was a little much. I'll add to this review the next time and leave out the mushrooms. Good sauce, not thin or overly thick. The spiciness was about right. And, of course you can always add a little crushed red pepper if you want it a little spicier. Yes, will buy again.

Bertolli Marinara Sauce With Burgundy Wine...Another Contender!

Well, in Kroger a couple of days ago and yes, Bertolli sauces were a dollar off if you buy five. This was the first time I saw this sauce and they only had one jar left.
Anyway, tried to find out the difference between a regular sauce and marina. Didn't want to spend but so much time and  the best I could come up with, is that marina uses just a few spices, no meats, and no chunky know, peppers, onions, mushrooms.
OK, this test, I added meatballs and served on angel hair. This stuff was great. Yes, you could taste the burgundy...surely not overwhelming by any means and you could also smell it as the sauce was heating. The sauce wasn't thin but surely wasn't overly thick. Yes, I will buy the is again. I just noticed Classico has a similar sauce. Next time at the store I'm going to look for it.

April 22, 2013... OK, folks. Yes, had this again with meatballs...and, yes, it was great. Had it over regular-size spaghetti noodles. You know, the thickest noodles. I guess these are the noodles that many of us grew-up with. The regular old spaghetti noodles. Yes, back before our mom's knew or cared about angel hair and such.
This is a great sauce. Yes, you can taste a little sweetness and the burgandy.

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This! Yes, Homeopathy, Again!

Nelsons Noctura™ a 6c homeopathic potency of Kali brom, Coffea, Passiflora, Avena sativa, Alfalfa and Valeriana to bring soothing relief from sleeplessness. This unique combination of homeopathic remedies can help to aid a good night's rest.
Non-drowsy and suitable for all the family.


OK, folks. Yes, I've known about homeopathy for years; however, just learned about this product after watching a video at JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation). Did you read the above ad? Yep, it can "...aid a good night's rest." Hey, we need some rest sooooo, off to the old drug store to stock-up on Nelsons Noctura. Thankfully, it's safe for the your entire family and best of all, it's NON-DROWSY!!!!! Yep, a sleep aid that's non-drowsy. Thankfully, we'll be able to get some rest without having to worry about becoming drowsy....

Not sure if I've mentioned this in another post, but four out of four pharmacists who I asked about homeopathy had not a clue as to what it is. Yes, they all said about the same thing...Gosh, it's herbs and natural ingredients. And, there you have it.

Basically, homeopathic remedies have no active ingredients. Two concepts, to use that word, explain homeopathic remedies. The law of similars and dilution. The dilution is the best part, yep...the more you dilute something the stronger it gets. Hey, I'm not cool enough to make this up. Do a search and find out for yourself. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Humorous Fairly Benign Story...That Actually Happened...

Five or six years ago I stayed at a hotel. In fact, the hotel had hosted a meeting of world leaders, so it was far from a shabby stay for twenty bucks a night place.
Anyway, went to the dining room for dinner. Just outside the doors to the dining room was a short counter. There were a couple of people behind the counter. As I best remember, the conversation went something like this...

Hi, are you here for dinner?
Well, would you mind checking back with us later?

I thought that was kind of odd. Anyway, I walked a few feet and looked in the dining room. Can't remember how many tables total, but there were at least six or so that were cleaned off and empty. So, I'm thinking, what in the heck is going on...

Listen, there are several tables that are empty. I don't want to go back up stairs and then check with you later. If you all are, well...running a little behind or something that's fine. Just seat us, bring us some coffee, and then take your time.

So, yes, we got a table. Waitress came over and brought us coffee. The weird thing was, they didn't seem to be getting backed up or anything. In fact, the waitress took our order promptly and the food came out in a reasonable time. And, the food was fine.

As were were walking by the counter the manager was still there.

By the way, it's not important, but I thought I'd let you know I'm the food editor for the Baltimore Sun. Then I smiled. They all three looked at each other and...well...the manager I think was saying to himself, "Oh, $%&X."

An hour or so later, I went back down to the restaurant and said to the manager, "Hey, I was kidding, I'm not the food editor for the Sun."
We both smiled and he looked relieved.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Prego Italian Sausage & Garlic...Another Winner...

Yes, another winner. Thick enough and tasty. Decent amount of sausage. Yes, I will buy this again. Oh, had this over thin spaghetti, with crushed red pepper, and cheese. Pretty darn good!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Classico Fire Roasted Tomato & Garlic...

OK, folks. Some changes in my sauce evaluations. First off, I'm going back to eating spaghetti the way I have been for years; using various add ins: hamburger-like crumbles, olives, mushrooms, crushed red pepper, meat balls, and cheese. Also, will vary the pasta. So, from now on you're going to get my opinion for the sauce along with the add ins. Yes, I know you guys are disappointed as I'm sure all over the world you've been sitting at your computers just waiting for my next review.
Another thing to mention, the sauce I just tested was OK for me; however, it could well be the best sauce of its kind...but, just OK for me as I'm not all that keen on the type of sauce.
So, there you have it. Will evaluate the sauce along with whatever I put in it.

Prego "New" Spicy Sausage is a Contender...

Well, I would have put a photo of the jar, is not on Prego's site which I find...well, strange. The jar does say new, hey...maybe they rushed it out so they could get a jar on the shelf just for me.
Anyway, this was pretty darn good. One of the thickest sauces, a little sweet (descriptive, not a negative comment), definitely spicy but not too spicy, and it had actual small chunks of Italian sausage. What more can I say. New to my reviews is whether or not I plan on buying it again.

Yes, I will buy this again.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ah, Tomorrow is Easter...Prayers to You???

Well, have been meaning to post this comment for some time. Decided Easter might be appropriate. So, here's what I want to know about Christians and their praying...
I follow our local online newspaper and for many of the articles read the comments. So here are the type of comments I'm wondering about.
There will be a death and the comments will go something like this: Prayers with, I'll pray for you, You will be in my prayers, Prayers out to you, and so on.
OK, someone is killed in an accident, here's what I want  to know...who are you praying to and what are you praying (for)?
Yes, I'm fumbling around here. Let me try again.
I would imagine that most Christians believe that their god is all powerful, knows everything, can do anything, can cause healings, can perform miracles, and so on. OK, now if that's the case that your god is all powerful and controls everything, what in the heck are you praying for?
Back to the accident. A good person, in fact a good Christian person, is killed in an auto accident. Now, if you believe your god controls everything and makes everything happen, it would seem like he wanted that person dead or it wouldn't have happened. With me, so far?
Of course, I would imagine some Christians may counter with god doesn't control everything. Ah, well, how does he decide what he controls? Well, he works in mysterious ways. That's a good one.
DON'T MENTION  FREE WILL! I'll have my pup track you down.
OK, if he's not running the show and is not all powerful, then what's the deal? He's not powerful enough to stop a car accident but he's powerful enough to put you in hell? Dang, it seems like it'd be easier to stop an accident than put someone in hell...
Well, this article or rant  is not going as I expected. OK, back to the basics.
A person is murdered, "Prayers to the family." OK, when you get down on your knees what do you pray? please make sure this person goes to heaven (hasn't that already been decided?). Pray that they have a nice trip? Pray that they get first class and not economy? Pray that they aren't held up in some type of purgatory? Pray that they get a waterside view in their new condo in heaven? What are you praying (for)?
You know, again...yes, sometimes we learn by rote. The guy who in your mind is in charge is the guy who caused the accident or allowed it to happen or who just doesn't care enough to be concerned about it at all and you're praying to him for what?
Now, the bible says your prayers will be answered. Obviously, that's not true. Are we back to god works in mysterious ways? Or, he only answers prayers that are worthy. Worthy, what is there, some type of commission that meets and votes on what's worthy and what's not?
One of the best ones I've heard, is that you should pray for god's will to be done. Good one. The most powerful guy around and we need to pray that his will be done. That'd be like me praying that Babe Ruth will let me help him learn to hit home runs.
Now, is a prayer merely a means of communication or is there something more to it than that? You pray so that god can know what you want? A means of communication... Well, if he knows everything he knows what you'll be praying about. So, why bother? For instance, you have a loved one who is ill...surely this powerful god knows that when you pray you'll be praying that he'll heal your loved-one. Or maybe prayer is something about accumulating a Green Stamp type of rewards. You know, for every hour of prayer you have XXX of heaven or prayer chips accumulated.
Yeah, like a heavenly bank account. In fact, that'd be another religious or heavenly scam. Lets's see, you'd go to your corner preacher, "I want my loved one to be cured."
"Well, yes, god and I understand that; however, you need to pray for 1732 hours plus give me $2775 in small bills."
Folks, not sure what you guys are looking for or trying to accomplish, but prayer ain't gonna get it for you. See the photo/snap on this page. You folks are looking in the wrong place and trying the wrong things. You keep praying and there is absolutely no evidence that a prayer has ever been answered. None. After no telling how many years of millions of people praying  and you think you are so special that this so-called god of yours is going to answer your prayer?
And, to add to it all you guys are going to church tomorrow to praise Jesus or something. So, how does the fable go? God allowed his only son to be crucified so that your sins are forgiven or something...and this so-called god resurrected his son. Wow, the god who is so powerful that he can kill his son so we can sin with impunity and then resurrect his son... If I've got this story even half-right, I'd say your god ain't real smart if he couldn't have figured out a better way to go about this.
Why couldn't he have just flapped him arms and spun some kind of miracle so our sins would be forgiven...while being in a bar and having a beer with his son? He really had to kill his son? Isn't that being a little overly dramatic?
Well, in the end, I am thankful and pray every day that I don't have to believe any of that bullshit.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Doctors Without Borders...

Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, yes, I'm on their mailing list.
About a week ago I got an email and they were requesting money to help the people injured in the Syrian conflict. I just felt as though I had to make a donation. Felt compelled? Not sure exactly why; however, I did think for a minute how good I and most Americans have it. Just to be able to know that we have a place to live, clothing, and food. And, for most of us we don't have to worry about it all that being taken from us by an errant bomb or artillery shell; or some soldier or rebel with an AK47. Yes, except for the thugs that roam our streets, we can be safe in our homes and safe to pursue our lives. The people wounded and killed in the Syrian conflict can't.
Does donating to charity make people better, or make them better people than those who don't? Well, I'll let you decide that.
Some could most likely make a good argument that some people give to charities only to make themselves feel better, and the benefit of the donation may well be secondary to why they make donations.
However, regardless of why a person donates, the donation still does what it's supposed to do and that is to help people who need help.
Yes, some people support the so-called arts  and give their donations so that a new painting can be purchased by a museum, or so that a community acting group can produce a new play. Well, hey, it's our money and we may donate or not to whatever cause, if you will, that we want to promote or support. But, I guess when all is said and done, I think most of us who used a little introspection would have to admit that it's surely more important for someone to receive needed medical care than it is for someone to go to a museum and see a new painting. But, hey, that's just my opinion.
So folks, give a little of your money. Give it to make yourself feel better or give it because you care. Doesn't make any difference to the charity, your money still spends and can be used to help those in need.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dang, Ain't Got the Time to Fool Around With No $15,500,000...

OK, below is the email I received today.
I don't think I want to possibly corrupt myself with big bucks.
I mean, wow, I'd have tax problems and no telling what else and 
folks from all over would be asking for a few dollars. I just don't 
want to bother with it.
Listen, if anyone is reading this and are interested in talking to Mr. Ling,
let me know and I'll send you his email address. 

"Hello   ,

I have discreet proposition for you to the tune of Fifteen Million  
Five Hundred Thousand USD(15,500,00USD) . Please reply for details.



Mr.Cy Ling."

Ah, Back to the Sauce...Newman's Own...Another Contender...

Well, this surely wasn't a scientific approach to evaluating spaghetti sauce. Nope, there were too many other variables to actually give Newman's a fair evaluation.
Let's see, where did I stray?
Well, first off I sprinkled enough crushed red pepper to cause a spice-induced nose run. Yep, had to get out the tissues because of the spiciness of  the red peppers. Also, I had a ton of Amour's Italian-style meatballs. And the flavor of the meatballs that simmered with the sauce surely made some difference in the taste, though I'm sure it wasn't significant. But, I can say this, it was pretty darn good. And, I would like to applaud the folks at Newman's for the amount of peppers that they put in their sauce. Yes, nice -size pieces of green pepper along with chunks of tomato. I paid, I think $1.99 at Kroger's. This sauce used to sell for much more. And, yes, I used Kroger's thin spaghetti. Mr. Newman's sauce is definitely a contender.
I would think that many of you may know that Newman was a heck of a racer. As I best remember, he started racing Datsuns in SCCA racing. That was many years ago. The last time I saw him race (on TV), can't remember the make of the car, but it was fast and powerful, and it was a professional race. If my memory serves me correctly, and it may not, I believe his number was 78, and that was his age at the time. A great actor, racer, sauce maker, and the profits from these Newman's products go to charity.The next time you're shopping for sauce, give Newman's a try.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Maybe Baby Jesus Can Help?

Yes, I know, I’m incorrigible.
A few months ago, a local night club was shut down. As I best remember this happened in court.
The night club, under different managers and owners, has been in business for years; 25, 30, most likely. Anyway, it’s always had a reputation as a hangout for, well…rowdy groups of mainly younger people. Yep.
The police department has a long recorded history of calls for service. Yes, I guess that means the old 911 calls.
Things came to an end, if you will, when someone was murdered on the dance floor. Yes, he was bashed in the head with a bottle.
Enough’s enough’s said the police department and the local citizens who live near the place.
The police chief, police officers, and citizens gave court testimony.
To counter it all, the owner said he was going to have Bibles available in the entry area, write scriptures on the bathroom mirrors, and close out the night with gospel music.
The judge said no.
Does the judge not believe in the power of religion?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Here, Let Me Stick This Tube Up Your Ass...

No, not a joke.
Though it's referred to in several ways, I'll use colonic irrigation. Yes, this is a procedure where a tube is stuck up your butt and you're cleaned-out, I guess you could say. Yep, I guess you could say it's an enema on steroids.
A few years ago, I asked one of our local TV stations to do a story on this... Of course, I got no response. At the time, I'd found a place locally, here in Virginia Beach, that had a heck of an ad, extolling the benefits.
As I best remember, the ad even mentioned helping your hearing and eye sight, and many other things, of course.
On  the other side of the isle, so to speak, are horror stories of perforations and horrible physical  problems and the occasional death after this so-called procedure.
The Virginia Board of Medicine, the agency that licenses doctors, counselors, nurses and so on said they had nothing to do with the licensing of folks who stick tubes up your butt.
Surely, some agency in the state is looking out for us, at least ostensibly. Well, the State Board of Health said, no, they had nothing to do with people sticking tubes up other people's butts.
Surely, if the SBofM and the State Health Department are not regulating this, it must fall on the local health department. Well, according to the Virginia Beach Health Department, no, they have nothing to do with the licensing or overseeing of the folks who do this.
Let's see if I have this right? There are people in our state who are sticking tubes up the butts of people, at best a risky thing to do, and it offers no benefits. Yes, no benefits and several ways that it can be harmful. But, that's fine, keep doing it. However, you better not open a barber shop and cut hair without a license.

If for whatever reason you decide this is for you, please at least look around and seek information from places that are not trying to sell you something. If nothing more, ask your doctor what they think about having this done.

What follows are a few quotes, if you will, from a few Websites that promote the use of colonic irrigation.

Reduces weight and slims due to activating elimination. Creates an increase in mental capacity and rejuvenation since it decreases the degenerative process, normal or accelerated, by removing toxic substances that affect biological aging.

Some are working on emotional issues which they feel are physiologically rooted in their intestines.

"Clear body, clear mind" is the saying best exemplified in the purification process carried out through colonic irrigation. Apart from the above mentioned benefits of colonic hydrotherapy, one can also observe its positive effects on the mind after treatment. Our mental state and thinking is largely affected by the state of our body. It is therefore, difficult for a body contaminated with toxins and impurities to support a healthy mind. Clarity of thinking is not maintained in people suffering from aforementioned problems. All these points emphasize the importance of having a clean mind which is closely related to a clean body.

Feel lighter, fresher and energized.
Relief from lethargy and fatigue.
Mental clarity, reduced headaches, enhanced sleep.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Think I've Stopped Going to Funerals...

Well, what's the purpose of a funeral? Not giving it a lot of thought, I guess for those not directly involved, it is a way to let those who were directly involved, the family and loved ones, that you are supporting them and by your presence you hope that it will be of some help in the grieving process. That you being there will offer some comfort, as little as it may be.
Our society somewhat deems the viewing or wake or whatever it's called, the church part, the service at the cemetery, and then the usually meeting somewhere for food, as almost mandatory.
And, I'm sure that to some extent, the whole ritual with the gathering of friends and acquaintances does help the family weather through a little better. However, the religious part just flat-out pisses me off.
Here's an example of what I mean that I wrote several years ago.

A cherished friend of sixty years died. How would I describe him? Well, sit and write everything you'd like to have in a good human being, and that would describe him. As a human being, he had it all.
A couple of years before he died cancer started its attack. Gathering speed and resisting all known medical treatments, it soon had the upper hand and attacked with a vengeance. The day before he died I visited him briefly. This strong exuberant person, who loved life and always tried to spread happiness, good will, and humor, had been reduced to lying in his death bed, weighing not more that 75 pounds, eyes open...not able to talk or move. It wasn’t known whether or not he could hear and even if he had the ability, I doubt that he could have overcome the horrible pain he suffered every moment his life continued.
Yes, I went to the funeral. Yes, went to the church. Catholic. There were hundreds of people.

I picked a seat at the end of a pew. I watched the faithful come in, kneel, move their hands around saying, I guess, some kind of prayer before seating themselves. Also, a kind of birdbath thing with water. Here the faithful, dipped their fingers. Hey, guess it was holy water.

And then the proceeding started. No, I can't remember it all. There were at least four men dressed in, well, sorry, dressed in tacky and ostentatious costumes. They walked up on the stage, or whatever it's called, and spent no telling how long moving around kissing things, mumbling prayers, moving stuff around, opening and closing books and Bibles....and so on. They sat side by side, each jumping up and doing something and then passing it on to another.

As I watched this I just got more and more disgusted and angry. Here was my friend lying dead in his coffin and they seemed to be putting on some kind of show for, of all people, God. They seemed to be praising God! I'm thinking, if God had the all-powerful stuff everyone talked about, why did He allow my friend to die in the manner he did. I found it insulting, praising God, as I found him to be the villain. The Devil, if you will. Isn't anyone pissed off? Isn't anyone mad at God for allowing this horrific thing to happen? No, praising God!

Yes, they did finally speak of my friend, but it was as if he was secondary to praising God for allowing him (my friend) to enter the Kingdom of Heaven…or something like that.

After 30 minutes or so I started questioning if I should stay for the rest of their show. Would I dishonor my friend if I left? Of course, he would never know, so how could I dishonor him? Finally, after ruminating for 15 minutes, I decided I could best honor him by getting the hell out of the church. And, I did.

I may never go to another funeral. I do not like being held as sort of a hostage, to use that term, by a bunch of so-called preachers and priests, who believe in myths, fantasies, fairy tales, superstitions, dress in truly tacky costumes, go through endless worthless rituals, and keep saying things like, "Oh, heavenly father." It all just seems so fucking ridiculous. You know, it's one thing if you believe all the BS that these people spout, but frankly, for nonbeliever it's almost painful to sit there and try to endure.

Want a Relaxing Stress-Free Hobby or Pass-Time?

Well, many, if not most of us, at times lead a somewhat stressful life. How do we cope with that? How do we relax? How do we unwind? Is there an ideal way or method? Any criteria to use in a search of a stress reliever?
Well, many of us turn to booze, though it actually doesn't seem to work, at least not long-term and for many it just adds to the ongoing stress level as well as adding more problems that in turn create even more stress.
OK, back to the criteria.
Let's see. Ideally, it'd be nice to be inexpensive. Not require a lot of equipment or paraphernalia. Be portable. Not disturbing to others who may be around you. Be able to do anywhere.
Well, I have two that you might want to consider.
Many years ago, in another lifetime if you will, I lived on a boat for a few years. Yes, it was overall a peaceful existence and a pleasant way to live. I at that time did not watch TV and my entertainment, to use that word, was a decent car radio (remember, I'm on a boat that uses 12 volts) and CD player.
Though I am not sure how or why I started, yes, I tried cross stitch. Yep, that stuff that many old ladies do. Hey, Rosey Greer, was a cross stitcher. Do you remember him? A football player. Yep, Rosey, at least at one time did do cross stitch.
Well, it sure doesn't take much to try cross stitch. In fact, you can buy kits with the canvas (or whatever material is used), the thread, and so on for a few dollars.
Recently, I've started back trying to lean how to whittle. Yep, whittle. It also is quite relaxing, is portable, and you can give it a try for not much money.
What do you need?
Well, at a minimum a knife. Many of us have a pocket knife, though one problem may be getting it sharp enough to use for whittling. The last thing you want to do is to try to whittle with a dull knife. First off, you're more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife than a sharp knife. Also, trying to whittle with a dull knife is not any fun at all. In fact, I doubt many of us would last long if we did try to whittle with an unsharp knife.
If you can't get your present knife sharp enough or do not have a knife, then you can buy a pocket knife or a knife especially made for whittling or carving. A made-for-carving knife can be bought for as little as $12 or so, and that will get you started. I have far too many knives, and at least one pretty pricey pocket knife made expressly for carving; however, there seems to be a huge difference when you use a knife made specifically for carving.
You should buy a protective glove and a thumb guard. Period. These are essential, especially for someone just beginning. A well honed knife is extremely sharp and you surely don't want to end up at the ER seeking stitches because you didn't buy the safety equipment.
Some folks use twigs and branches found in their yards as carving wood. Most consider bass wood about the best, especially for someone just starting.
I bought some 1" X 1" basswood and am trying to whittle what are generally called little people. Yes, these little guys are generally at most 3" tall.
Well, as we all know, the Internet has it all. Good place to seek information about what to carve or whittle and what to use.
I think that either of these pastimes or hobbies can give us a break from it all. Give us a few minutes, here or there, to sit down and just relax and if only momentarily allow us to forget the problems that we may have. Yes, you may want to consider giving one or both if these a try.
Good luck.

Hey, Let's Detox Folks...Yeah, We'll Suck the Toxins Out Through Our Feet....

A few years ago, a local newspaper reporter went to a local spa to have the toxins removed from his body. Yes, they used that foot bath thing. You know the one. They put clear water in it, you put your feet in, they turn it on, and by magic toxins are sucked out through your feet. Yep, and you can even tell where the toxins came from by checking out the colors of the water.
I grabbed this off of a local place, that yes, does this type of stuff.

"IONIC DETOX FOOT BATHS During the ionic foot detoxification your feet are placed in clear water for thirty minutes. During that time toxins are released from your pores draining your body of chemicals in the foot detoxification bath that can make you unhealthy. The chart below describes the color index."

And even more baloney from this place. Yep, this is on their Website.

"The ionic foot machine is a modern day energy device that safely and effectively helps balance the body's natural energy system. More specifically, it also works in essence by introducing a high level of negative ions into water of a foot bath/soak, the feet, utilizing principles of reflexology and the science of ionization and osmosis, create a positive cellular environment and enable the body's natural detoxification abilities and processes to function at their maximum. Negative ions attract positive ions. For this reason, it's recommended that you add a clear quartz crystal to the tub (water) to enhance the cleansing effect during an ionic foot detox bath session."

Folks, folks, folks...this is truly sad. I doubt there is any hope for us. Did you notice the part about the quartz crystal? Think about this for a minute. Yes, it's 2013 and we're all supposed to be grownups...and we're going to put a frickin' crystal in our foot detox tub to suck out even more toxins.

I remember watching the video that the newspaper had made. Yep, the woman who was administering the treatment, had on a, yes, she had on a white coat. Dang, I've always wanted a job where I can wear a white coat.

Anyway, what am I working up to?
Let's see, these folks say they can suck the toxins out of your body by you sticking your feet, in what must be, some kind of magic gizmo. You know, it's sucking out the toxins.
Well, here's a question that I think I a can reasonably ask, If this actually works, that is, if these gizmos actually suck out the toxins, why doesn't my doctor use these?
You know, Please get here 30 minutes early for your appointment so that we can suck the toxins out of you before you see the doctor. Yeah, I mean, I'd get to the waiting room and we'd all be getting the toxins sucked out of us. Why is my doctor not using this?

OK, folks, wasted enough time here. Please, I hope if you're reading this you surely know this is just another scam. Yep, hey, put some water in one of these gizmos, and don't put your feet in and yes the water will go from clear to something else. That's just how it works.

Well, Keep Doing What You're Doing, I Guess...

A few weeks ago I saw my cardiologist at Barnes and Noble. I hadn't seen him in quite some time and actually, yes, I'm past due for one of those stress test things. Yep, I haven't seen him in years.
"Nice to see you."
"You still working?"
"No, actually quit a couple of years ago. Well, worked until I was 71."
"Oh, didn't know you were that old."
"Yes, now 73."
"You look good. What are you doing?"
"Well, you know. I get no exercise, smoke and drink a lot, eat mainly fast-food, and wow, my sleep is really messed-up."
The natural flow of  the back and forth of the conversation came to a halt.
My cardiologist then said, something like, "Well, I guess you should keep doing what you're doing."

Now, did he actually say that, Keep doing what you're doing? Frankly, can't remember exactly what he said. However, he didn't chastise me about my living habits.

And, so it goes....

Friday, March 15, 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around...Sure...

I'm sure you've heard this before. Or, is it, What comes around goes around? Anyway, folks usually spout this when something bad has happened to someone...or others, normally perpetrated by one person or a small group. The implication is that the person(s) will have the same thing happen to them....or something similar.
I'm not sure where this came from, this saying. I guess to some extent it offers a little solace when we are harmed or done wrong; however, obviously, there's no basis to think it's true. I guess you would have to believe in some kind of mystical powers or what-have-you, that are looking down on the world and punishing all bad deeds. Hmmm. If that were the case, why did the mystical power or whatever allow the bad deed to happen in the first place?
In order to think like this you would have to feel that there is some kind of overall score keeper, who makes sure that wrongs are righted.
Hey, the only way wrongs are righted is through action....not through some mystical belief that there is someone or some power who is looking out for us.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news folks...but, it just ain't true. No one is looking out for us and there is no overall balancing and adjusting. What happens happens and, that's about it. The scales of justice are only level and balanced as they are passing though the arc from one extreme to the other.

Only in America... The Republican Debates

Have you folks been watching the republican debates? I wonder what the rest of the world thinks about us. Yes, many countries have strange political systems but, wow, have we hit a home run in the theater of the absurd. What am I speaking of? Yes, the republicans, well, I was going to say contenders buy I think I'd be stretching it a bit. Ain't none of these folks going to pose a threat to unseat President Obama. In fact, I think you could reasonably ask if they are being paid by the democrats to put on their show. Or, hey, maybe it's all funded by Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan, Jon Stewart, and the rest of the comedians... Talk about fodder the the late-night shows.
Let's see.
Newt (I have a Brinks' truck to haul around my wife's jewellery, and yes, I might be looking around for an even younger wife and 84 ethics charges were filed while Speaker of the House and fined $300,000 and set a high bar as some folks say by being the first Speaker of the House to be reprimanded for ethics violations) Gingrich.
Herman (9-9-9, yes, I'm a Baptist preacher and God told me to run, we better watch out for China as they are trying to develop atomic bombs, Yes Honey, been meaning to mention to you that for the past 13 years I've been poking a babe and giving her money) Cain.
Rick (hey, I'm Catholic with seven kids and proud of it, and I'm responsible for all the legislation that's been passed in the last 100 years) Santorum.
Rick (I'm embarrassing myself and don't know it and Romney is hiring illegals and dang we need to pray more) Perry.
Michele (no those aren't my eye lashes and yes my husband prays away the gay in his counseling business) Bachmann.
Mitt (yes, I've been a successful business man and wear weird underwear) Romney.
John (I speak Chinese and also wear weird underwear) Huntsman.
Congressman Ron Paul, an interesting fellow who has some interesting ideas and tells it like he sees it and, no he will not be running against President Obama.
Just when you think it couldn't get will. Yes, Donald Trump is going to be the
moderator at a debate scheduled for December 27, 2011. Yes, that's what's being reported in the press.
Also, reported that Governor Huntsman said, Fuck you, I'm not going to participate (or, something like that). Kudos Governor.
Now, how could this get any better? Ah, two ways.
Have good old Sarah jump back in the fray and show-up...or, everyone tell Trump to fuck off except for Governor Perry. many possibilities. So much potential.
December 3, 2011
Ah, it's gotten better. The above I wrote this morning and now, yes, there's a little more to report.
Well, Herman Cain had his press conference. Wow, was it interesting. I didn't take notes, but as I best remember, here's how it went.
Cain, wasn't in attendance when it started. I think the first speaker was an aide or someone who is part of his campaign. Yep, glowing reports about old Herman.
Up next I think was an army colonel who has a bronze star...he spoke of Herman's friendship and he reiterated that Herman is most likely the greatest guy ever.
Next, a female related to MLK, Jr. Yep, a minster. After she poured it on, praising Cain, she then had a...prayer (wow, surprised at that one).
Then, there was some kind of rock music or something, and lo and behold, the old Herman Cain for President bus pulled up (added a little drama, hey?) and out came Cain, his wife, and about 7,000 gigantic body guards.
Ah, Herman gets on the stage and talks about having made that maybe wasn't the word...but intimating that everything is fine with his relationship with his wife, family, and yes, good old God.
He then went on and on about America and so on.... Then, announced he's suspending his run for president and going to plan B. Yeah, I know, sort of a let down.
Plan B is that he's going to make changes from outside the government, blah, blah, blah.
Hmmm. Now, if everything is so great with your wife, family, and God...why have you quit? Now, obviously I have no idea whether Cain did what he's accused of doing. I have no idea if Cain did poke the babe for thirteen years and yes, I know that because two things happen at the same time doesn't mean there's causation...but, folks, he was raring to go after the office of president until Ms. Ginger came along.
Well, a couple of comments. One, Cain mentioned that only in America could someone from his humble beginnings end up running for president. I think that he mentioned his mom worked as a maid and his dad also had a somewhat similar job. Of course, he made no mention of the fact that he's most likely worth many millions of dollars. Of course, it also allowed someone to run for president, who in theory at least, would have their hand on the Red Phone and didn't know that China has nuclear weapons.
Maybe there should be an SAT-type test that all candidates must pass before being allowed to run. You know, some basics. Know that China has weapons and being able to point out on a map where Iraq and Iran are.
And, then during the campaign we could have a Supreme Court type of group of journalists and historians, you know, the witty folks with knowledge; Chris Matthews and other like him. Yes, they would monitor everything and the first time someone made a statement such as, Watch out for China they're try to develop weapons, well, that person would be outta there.
Almost forgot, yes read in the press that Representative Paul told Trump to pound sand. Also it seems, that everyone running (except Santorum, Paul, Huntsman) have met with Trump at least once (Gingrich is meeting with him next week). Hey, maybe they go in and kiss his ring or something. Wow, yes, folks, all of this would be hard to make-up.

December 2011

If the Old Pope Can't do it, Who Can?

You people are pathetic. A few days ago, yes, your pope, was praying. Yep, for world peace and all the rest. Yes, propped-up in a god-awful tacky costume. Yep, big hat and everything...all gold encrusted. Yes, praying for world peace and all of the rest.
Of course, while he's praying the so-called radical Muslims are bombing the shit out of his churches.
Hey, for you Catholics out there, if the pope can't pray and get some results, shouldn't you guys just throw in the towel. Wake up folks!

December 2011

Chiropractors: Since 1895 Riding on the Coat Tails of a Grocer

I think if I was a banker or represented an insurance company, it'd be great to be able to say, Hey, we've been in business since 1895. We've weathered, if you will, many wars, collapses of the economy, depressions, recessions, and we're still here doing business and providing services. We've kept our promises and have always done what we'd say we'd do.
Yes, it was old DD Palmer who dreamed-up or invented so-called chiropractic in 1895. He talked of vertebral subluxations and vital energy and innate intelligence. Yes, the vitalism and innate intelligence is some kind of energy stuff that is flowing around us. I think he decided that just about every malady, illness, and disease that we could have could be fixed or cured with adjusting the spine to get rid of the vertebral subluxations.
One of DD's claimed early successes, was curing a man's deafness by adjusting his back. As I best understand it there are no nerves in the spine that have anything to do with hearing. But, I guess for DD that would have been a minor concern.
In the years since DD started up the...well, nothing has changed about the vertebral subluxation other than its never been proven to exist.
Now, let's say you're new in town are are trying to find a doctor. You go to his or her office and notice a lack of the diagnostic equipment that all doctors' offices have. Yes, there are no EEG, x-ray, blood pressure. Well, almost nothing.
You then find that the doctor is using all of the medical science that was available in 1895. Yes, his entire medical education, if you will, his training, is based on what was known in 1895.
For the old modern-day chiropractors, it gets better.
The General Chiropractic Council in the UK issued a statement, May 2010, that said in part.
“The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is an historical concept but it remains a theoretical model. (Here's the good part.) It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease or health concerns.”
Hey folks, you guys have been getting hosed and your pocket books and wallets raided, for over a hundred years.
The next time you visit your wonderful, caring, supplement pushing, real-doctor acting, white-coated chiropractor, to get your back cracked to get rid of vertebral subluxations that don't exist, and never did, you might want to mention this.
December 2011

My Cell Phone is Only Ten Bucks a Year...

Yes, $10 a year. Today I went to T-Mobile (Military Highway across from Janaf, for you local folks) and had a pleasant visit with my phone lady. Yep, we sort of got caught up with what's been going on with us over the past year...and she got my phone set up for another year.
OK. My phone is what I call my emergency phone. I leave it in my car in case I ever need road service or what-have-you. The only cell phones I've ever bought are the ones that I think are referred to as throw away phones. You know, the ones that you buy time for.
Anyway, I always start out with good intentions but normally forget to go back until I run over a year and have to start over. I think I paid $100 the first time, which included a phone and 1,000 minutes. As I best understand it, as long as I go back within a year, and spend as little as ten bucks...hey, my phone will go on forever (whatever forever means in the phone business).
Anyway, this year, I made it in time. I think the ten bucks bought me another 100 minutes and I think I had almost a thousand. In fact, my phone lady said I only used six minutes over the last year.
Anyway folks, unshackle yourselves from your no telling how much a month cell phones. Do you really need to go around with a phone jammed to your ear for most of the day? Are you really so important that you have to be available 24 hours a day? Do you know what you look like when you're pounding out those text things?
As an aside, bet you folks don't even know what a party line is (or was). In the fifties, in fact, it may have been my family's first phone, yes, we had a party line. Several families had the same phone line. Yes, each family had a different ring. For instance, if there was two long rings it would be for my family. Two short rings, another family. And, yes, we could all listen to each others' conversations. And, you guys have to have a cell phone at the ready 24/7?
Yes, I like and use a lot of the modern-day technology, and wow, truly like the advances in medicine, but there's something to be said for the good old days.

Folks, yes, cut the tether, disconnect yourself from the cell-phone umbilical cord, free yourself. Rush into T-Mobile, and yell that you want to be free. Tell them you want George's Ten Dollar A Year Phone!

December 2012

What's the Harm? Possibly Death!

November 19, 2011, Yavapai County, Ariz., Judge Warren Darrow sentenced James Arthur Ray for the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38; James Shore, 40; and Liz Neuman, 49 who all died after participating in a sweat lodge ceremony. The sweat lodge was the closing event of a five-day seminar, or retreat, I guess you could say. Ray, who charged $10,000 to participate, billed it as a Spiritual Warrior event. Yes, and of course he talked about making spiritual breakthroughs and all of the other New Age stuff.
The jury convicted Ray of three counts of
negligent homicide. The judge sentenced him to two years on each count, to be served concurrently.
Ray's rise to well-known
self-help guru and motivational speaker was helped along, by, yes, good old Oprah. Also, it didn't hurt that he had a part in the movie, The Secret. You guys remember the Secret. Yes, the law of attraction. Think it and it's yours.
Folks, no I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to improve ourselves, improve our lives, but there's no quick way to anything in life, and though most of us will never achieve
greatness, we all have the ability to have decent lives, and that's what we should work on; fine tuning what we have, maybe learning to be better people. There are few of us who are going to breakout of our lives, if you will, and achieve overnight wealth and success: And, for those of us who do, it's not going to be because of the Rays of the world. It's all hard work and for most of us it takes time. Though I didn't spend much time in looking into Ray's background, I'd be willing to bet that he never made any money other than the money given to him by a whole host of gullible people who attended his seminars and bought his stuff. David McCall, a Texas trucking business owner who said he spent $125,000 to attend Ray's seminars in 2008 was at Ray's sentencing hearing to ask the judge for leniency.
As I type this, his Website is still up and running selling books, CDs, DVDs, yes and all of the words are there for you: Harmonic Wealth, Science, and Spiritual this that and the other and so on.
Who are these people who go to these seminars and spend their money on most-likely worthless CDs, books, and such. I would imagine that most are bright intelligent people with a sincere desire to improve their lives.  The problem is, that they put the Rays of the world up on a pedestal and shut off all of their logical thinking. It would seem that Ray was considered god-like and no one questioned him or closely evaluated what he was selling. Several people ended-up with broken hands at another of his seminars when he told them they could break cinder blocks. The followers of the Rays of the world shut down any critical thinking that they have and seem to buy into whatever they are told. 
Ray, like others of his ilk, is nothing more than a New Age shyster. Instead of peddling snake oil, Ray peddled his DVDs. Instead of saying his potions and elixirs would cure your physical ills, Ray promised spiritual happiness and wealth. It would seem, that for most of those who bought into his scam, he delivered neither.

A Simple Philosophy on How to Live: No New Regrets

I was pondering, if you will, my life and all of the mistakes I've made. I wondered if I could come up with a simple, easy to understand philosophy of how to live. Something that would be brief and to the point. Something that anyone could understand, including me. Something that would have great utility value.
Something that could pulled out and used for almost any event that confronted or any decision I'd have to make.
I think I found it. At least for me, I have. Yes, No New Regrets. Though it most likely doesn’t need an explanation, I want to be able to look back from here on out and say, I did nothing that I regret, and I don't regret not doing anything.
Yes, No New Regrets.
January 1, 2012

Had it Been that Long Ago?

From time-to-time over the years he thought back to the event that happened about 60 years ago. The event itself was still imbedded in his memory, but it was truly a little fuzzy because of the passage of years.
He could remember the chronology of the events that happened that Saturday, though the images were surely not distinct or sharply in focus.
The day started off not any different from many of his Saturdays. He got on the Trailways bus a couple of blocks from his home and was soon watching the scenery go by as the bus headed for the city. Forty minutes later, he stepped off the bus and headed to the first motorcycle shop he would visit.
He'd, much to his mother's displeasure, been obsessed with motorcycles since he'd briefly had a motor scooter a year or so before. It was a Sears Allstate model that he'd just about lived on. Riding everywhere, of course this back in the day when no one wore helmets or any kind of protective gear. Kids just jumped on them and rode. Yes, they got banged-up and bruised but that was the nature of it all. Guess you could say Darwin was monitoring them.
He loved looking at the BSAs, Triumphs, Ariels, AJSs, and Nortons. Occasionally one of the shop owners would give him a brochure and that would really make his day.
He day-dreamed about when he'd get one and be clothed in black leather. A black leather jacket with a million zippers. Jeans. And, heavy black engineer-type boots. And, most likely some black gloves.
He checked the movie schedule, grabbed a hot dog, and soon was sitting in the darkened theater watching the first of two cowboy movies. Several hours later, after watching two movies, ten cartoons, and several installments of two serials, he came out of the theater blinking in the sun.
At the magazine shop he bought a motorcycle magazine and was soon seated on the bus, browsing the magazine, waiting for the trip home.
He knew someone had sat down next to him but continued to read the magazine. As the bus backed out of the bay, he looked to his side and saw one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen. And, she was sitting next to him. She had medium length black hair and her lips were covered with the brightest of red lipstick. At first he felt a little faint, though wasn't sure why.
"Hi. How far are you going?"
"Uhh, well, uhh, I'm going out near the base."
"Good, so am I. It's nice to have some company," she said as she smiled.

As he came through the front door, his mom said,"Johnny, how was your day?"
"Pretty good, Mom."
"What did you do?"
"Oh, you know, the usual. Went to the motorcycle shops. Wow, there were some great motorcycles and I finally got to see an Ariel Square Four."
His mom, smiled. "How were the movies?"
"Pretty good."
"What did you have for lunch, a hot dog, I guess?"
"Yes, Ma'am, I did have a hot dog."
"Well, sounds like you had a pretty good day."
Johnny perked up, "Oh, yeah. I met the nicest lady."
"Yeah, she's kinda lonely, you know, her husband's out to sea."
"She wants me to come over and watch TV with her."
"Yeah, look at this," he said passing his magazine to his mom. "See, she wrote her phone number on my magazine. She didn't have a pen, she had to write it using her lipstick."
"I see," his mom said.
For a couple of weeks Johnny searched everywhere for his magazine. He never did understand how it vanished so quickly.

Kickstarter.... A Neat Program.

This is from March 15, 2013

OK, it wasn't quite a kind of Kickstarter record, but 89-year-old Pearl Malkin did pretty well, too.
Malkin this week reached her target of $3,500 in startup capital for her first-time business business Happy Canes, a line of walking sticks she decorates with artificial flowers.
She debuted the Happy Canes project on Kickstarter in late January and needed to reach her goal by March 23.
Said Malkin, "I want to be an example to young and old people that age shouldn't be a barrier for what you want to do in life."
Her first order of business is to buy a wire cutter. "I've been using scissors to cut the flowers from the wire stems, and it's killing my fingers," she said. And she'll stock up on better quality flowers, too.
Malkin estimates she can make 10 to 20 canes a day. "But if the business grows big, then we might get a factory in L.A. to make the canes," she said.
I'm ready for this," said Malkin. "I may live to be 100 and I want to stay busy."

Do you all know about Kickstarter?Yes, of course it's a Website. Folks go to the site and present their projects that they want to have funded. Many of the projects are writing or photography projects; however, many, like Ms. Malkin's are a business venture.
The person who is seeking financial assistance, presents their project, using a video and text. They say what they want to do and how much money they need. There is a time limit and their target goal must be met or they receive no money.
As I best remember, the pledges go through Amazon using PayPal, though I could be wrong about this. I think you just make your pledge and Amazon holds it until the target date arrives. If the goal is met they transfer your money and if it's not met, well your money was never used.
Yes, I pledged money on several projects. Oh, almost forgot. The folks asking for your support also offer gifts, if you will, to thank you for your support. For instance, if you pledge $10 you might receive a label/sticker telling of their project. One photography project, I donated enough to receive a small photo; still waiting for the photo.
My favorite is a project by a group of Marines who are going to war in Afghanistan. Yes, daily, they are all going all take a self-portrait. When they return, they are going to make a DVD. My thoughts are with John and his fellow Marines. And, yes, John sent me a terrific T-shirt that I'm proud of.