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Friday, December 25, 2009

Shortcut to Nowhere

Shortcut to Nowhere

My Dad was one of those who knew better than anyone else. Even when facts confronted him, he found a way around them. He was probably the source of that ubiquitous joke about men drivers never asking directions.

I never saw him look at a map or stop at a gas station to ask for help. All Dad knew was where he was starting and where he was going. He’d point the grill of the car in the direction of our destination and take off.

In our frequent trips from Fort Worth to the Panhandle, we had to go through Wichita Falls. On each of the first dozen trips, he tried a different route to circumvent downtown.

Now, I’ll admit we saw sights we would never had seen otherwise. Once I think we might have seen the Grand Canyon, but that’s pretty far fetched. Still-- Anyway we never saved any time with his shortcuts. He would never listen to suggestions, exclaiming instead, “I know what in the (expletives here-big time expletives) I’m doing.” And with that retort, the argument was settled.

Of course, he’d really get mad when he took a shortcut and then got back on the highway only to discover cars that he had passed ten miles back were ahead of him. My brother and I always muffled our snickers.

The reason I’m waxing nostalgic here is that if you look around this world of ours, there are a lot of folks out there who, I believe, are trying to take us where they think we should go, and without any better reasons that my Dad had in believing he knew the best shortcut.

Look how politicians tried to make us believe global warming was man-made- and now, look at how they’re crawfishing ever since personal e-mails have revealed scientists conspired to manipulate data to support what they surmised instead of the truth.

Certainly, you can’t argue with icebergs and glaciers melting. That is happening; there is global warming; but man is not the main cause. We might not be helping, but this earth will do what it wants.

No one denies ice once covered most of North America, then began retreating. All that is merely happening is that the ice is still retreating (duh), and if there were no humans on this planet, the ice would still be retreating.

There is talk about too much carbon dioxide, yet the proponents cannot tell us how much is too
much. All they can tell us is that it is higher than it has ever been. In other words, they don’t know what will happen, just like Dad didn’t know the way around Wichita Falls.

And the same is going on with this health care mess. Proponents jammed it through without knowing exactly what the effects will be. Their argument was ‘get it done, then figure it out.’ We need some reform. I won’t argue that, but let’s go about it sensibly.

All Dad should have done was look at a map and figure out a shortcut, not blunder ahead as he did so often, wasting time, gas, and patience.

The government needs to slow down, figure out exactly where we’re going, determine what it will cost, and then act, not the way the Senate pulled it off the other day.

I keep hearing politicians talk about how historical this health bill will be. Well, Jockos, jam that bill all the way through to the president’s desk, and I’ve got a feeling history will not treat you as saviors, but instead vilify the 111th Congress as the most dimwitted (pardon the redundancy), uncaring, and selfish congress in the history of our country.

A woman by the name of Joan Gorner observed that governments historically used crises to increase their power. In this last year we’ve had an Economic crisis, Health-care crisis, H1N1 crisis, and Global climate crisis.

This administration has told us unless we let the government step in and tell us what to do, we will drown, die, lose our homes, our savings, our hair, and happy hour at the local bar.

The lady makes sense.

Obviously, she knows this congress better than most, don’t you think?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That Time of Year

That Time of Year

I always look forward to Christmas, not for gifts or such but because it is so much fun to watch kids enjoy the gaiety of the time. Besides, people in general seem to be a little nicer, a little less impatient, and a lot more friendly.

Too bad we can’t have that attitude year around.

Decorating outside was my way of wishing passers-by a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

But I’ve noticed the last few years, I haven’t put up as many outdoor decorations as I once did. Age has a way of tightening the reins on a body.

I’m not crazy about ladders any longer—don’t trust myself up on them, and this year especially, the weather was not conducive to working outside. Did you notice how cold it was the first couple weeks of December?

That’s something else I can’t handle as I once did, the cold. In fact, I’ve started wearing a hat out in the weather. For over seventy years, I’ve gone bareheaded, but now I’ll pop on a hat to keep my head warm—just like my father and grandfathers. Who would have thought? Not me fifty years ago.

My wife, bless her, kept after me to tell her what I wanted for Christmas, but I have all I need. The Lord has been good to me and mine. I’m content to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

As a kid, I never spent Christmas at home. We were always at my grandparents either up in the Panhandle or out of the Great Plains around Lubbock.

We were like everyone else, we had little, but since everyone had little, we never figured ourselves hard put. I can swear to this, however, no youngster ever had nicer Christmases than I did with all my cousins and family.

It was usually three or four days of utter chaos.

Twenty or thirty folks in a dinky four-room house sporting only a two-holer out back lent itself to confusion.

At any given time, women were gossiping, some were cooking, some tending babies while the men played poker or forty-two, talked business, hunted, and always made it a point to keep their throats lubricated with bonded bourbon.

The Christmas I remember most vividly as a child was the first time we stayed home for Christmas. I was in the second grade in Albuquerque. Dad was in the Navy and he couldn’t get leave. That was about 1942.

It was cold, but as I remember, we had no snow although that part of the country has more than its share. At first light, I crept into the living room and there under a tree, spotted a toy cannon about six inches long.

A wire rack on top held several wooden bullets that would drop into a small chamber. A hand crank on the side of the cannon propelled the bullet. I had a whale of a time firing at Christmas ornaments.

I slept with that little cannon.

With our own children, we’ve always stayed home and hoped the magic and joy of Christmas would fill their spirits as it did ours.

We’ve talked about an artificial tree. Every year, it gets harder and harder to run down a fresh one, haul it back, set it up straight, and decorate it.

But this year when I stepped back and looked at the tree, I told myself there was no way I could buy an artificial that was a Christmasy looking as the one at our front window this season.
I’ll keep putting decorations up outside, but I’ve got to come with some that don’t involve ladders. And I’ll just have to cross my fingers that it isn’t as cold for as long next year.

Now, it's time to break out the egg nog.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All Gargle and No Guts

All Gargle and No Guts

I had planned to watch the president’s speech on Afghanistan last week, but we went out to eat at Pine Tree Lodge where I not only enjoyed a tasty meal of grilled catfish but rolled pool balls on the table with my three- and five-year-old grandsons.

Truth is, I had a better time with them than I would have listening to the speech.
I watched bits and pieces of it later on various networks. One thing you’ve got to give the president, he is one dandy speaker.

You ever notice how he always poses after making a statement? Presidential type poses. He has mastered the technique of tilting his chin and staring into space as if he is seeing into the future. Another pose is turning his head sharply and glaring over the heads of the audience.

I wonder how long he had to practice all the poses so they would become part of his demeanor, or does the teleprompter suggest the gestures.

Can you imagine such a prompt on the teleprompter? The screen might look like this.

“Time is critical. We must act now!”
-STARE AT CEILING-TILT JAW-LOOK DREAMY

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to be critical of his delivery. That delivery is what got him elected in the first place. It is smooth and slick and engaging. Of course con men are smooth and slick and engaging. All I’m saying is that no one is born with such a well-developed gift in place. They have to work to develop it, and obviously, he has.

There have been many gifted orators, perhaps the most notable being Martin Luther King, Jr. There was Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and yes, Adolf Hitler as well as many, many more.
The gift of oratory is like the Sirens’ Song, leading an audience to whatever goal the speaker has in mind, imbuing the listeners with rosy visions the future has for them. Unfortunately, his oratory will have the same effect as the Sirens’, a shipwreck.

King’s oratory had goals, specific goals.

Obama’s speech did not. Not really. Of course, I’m probably wrong, but here is what I came up with after winnowing the chaff from the seed. He’ll send in more troops, but will start pulling them out in eighteen months. And now, true to form, he’s even waffling on that. At least Bush took a stand.

Now you tell me, what sort of message did he send?

Republicans put one spin on it, Democrats another. We Independents just sit here and scratch our heads, recognizing another example of his lack of substance. Other countries just laughed.

It was the same sort of speech you would use to mediate problems between warring Chicago neighborhoods whose leaders have trouble spelling ‘duh’.

Hate him or not, you can’t say Bush waffled on the fight against terrorism—and I’m sorry, but the word ‘extremists’ is not specific enough to describe those fanatics our young men and women are battling; that we are battling. We’re battling terrorists, not just extremists!

This president made over five hundred promises during his campaign. He’s kept fifty-eight, broken seven, compromised on fifteen, had eighteen stalled, working on one sixty-eight, and has not addressed two hundred fifty-seven.

And he’s twenty-five percent of the way through his term.

I hope your promise isn’t in that two fifty-seven.

In all fairness, he’s done a few good things such as rebuilding schools in New Orleans because of Katrina.

But even that makes you wonder. Why didn’t he do the same for the rest of the coast devastated by Katrina? If you’ll remember, New Orleans was on the west side of the eye. The bad stuff hit thirty miles east, in Mississippi. The problems in New Orleans arose because of the levees, which were the responsibility of local, state, and federal agencies.

But he did help the Big Easy and ignored the rest of the coast. Again, I ask why, but then, foolish me, I didn’t consider the demographics.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dec 7

Kent Conwell
213 E 1st St
Port Neches, TX 77651,,
409-724-2956
rconwell@gt.rr.com
The Day to Remember

Quick! What was it you didn’t see on November 22?
Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see it, nor did several others whom I questioned.
Give up?
I saw nothing commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy forty-six years ago.
Oh, there were a couple conspiracy programs on the History channel, and that night, one of the networks mentioned it in a ten second comment.
Yep, I figured it was just me—you know, longer in the tooth, weaker in the brain, but when I asked my old high school chat group, the members of which are spread across the country, none of them had seen anything in their local news about it either.
Our country cannot afford to forget its history, for invariably, it is from those events that we derive true understanding, purpose, and determination. Sadly to say, however, you are probably just as aware as I of our country’s penchant to ignore history.
How many remember December 7? Believe it or not, there are many out there who have no idea what the date signifies.
And that’s a shame.
Those who lived through it will never forget where they were when they heard the stunning news—same with the Kennedy assignation.
In our little Panhandle town, we had s single picture show, the Rogue. The Sunday afternoon show began at one o’clock, and it ran twice.
That’s where I was, at the show with Mom and Dad, watching ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Now I know the film came out in 1939, but most movies our little town got were a couple years old if not older.
About halfway through the movie, the house lights went on and the owner faced us from the stage. He announced the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Now, at my age, that meant nothing to me. What bothered me was that he shut the movie down. I couldn’t see what was going to happen to Dorothy or Toto—or the others.
The seriousness of the announcement was beyond my comprehension, but by that evening, I knew something was terribly wrong for our family had gathered around the radio at my aunt’s. I remember a lot of talking and cursing.
The nearest Army and Navy recruiting office was in Shamrock, some sixteen miles to the south. The next one was in Pampa, forty miles to the west.
Next morning, from what Dad said, lines of young men circled the block in Pampa and Shamrock, waiting for the offices to open.
America mobilized. We mobilized in a way that I doubt we’ll ever again witness. At that time, America was a tough, hard-headed country coming out of a depression that tested men’s spirits to the breaking point. But they didn’t break, they persevered.
Primarily still rural, the hard work and fierce determination essential to success tilling the land lent itself to the same kind of warriors, tough, resilient, unyielding, and trusting in God.
That’s what won it for us, a combination that saw eighty percent of the men fighting, and eighty percent of the women manning the factories and the farms.
In the late thirties, one of my uncles served in the Philippines where he contracted a disease that ultimately ended his life. Other uncles and cousins on both sides fought around the world, none of them much over twenty years of age or so. Of course, Dad was in the war. He was an old man in his thirties.
That war cost our country 416,800 military and 1,700 civilian lives. Another 700,000 plus were wounded. Those men and women kept us free, free to live as we choose as long as we don’t hurt others.
The least we can do is try to remember that date. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?


rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

when is a book not a book

When is a Book not a Book

Sarah Palin has a book out on politics. So what? Obama wrote a book also. Again, so what? Politicians, actors (sorry about the redundancy), journalists, commentators, and dozens of others write books. And again, so what?

If you buy one looking for an epiphany of some sort, all you’ll discover is the same old garbage rehashed from that individual’s point of view.

I haven’t read any of them, but I’ll wager you half the facts in each are questionable with some being outright lies. Sorry, I mean ‘fabrications’. Our present administration is big on political correctness. We don’t have a ‘war on terror’ any longer. No, it’s something like ‘overseas contingency’ or some such nonsense.

Skewing the truth, which appears to be a prerequisite for political office at the state and federal level, is a means to confuse and mislead citizens, a ploy that has proven quite successful.

I did watch Palin on TV the other night. I don’t know if I would vote for her or not, but one thing that caught my attention was the remark that in the proposed health bill, people will have to buy policies that "will cost a minimum of about $15,000 per family per year." That’s when I sat up and took notice.

Doing some research on her comment, of which I admit I was very skeptical, I ran across the following details on PolitiFact, an impartial project of the ‘St. Petersburg Times’.

The article cast a fairly understanding light on that fifteen thousand dollar remark. You might want to pay attention, especially, if you buy your own insurance.

Currently, the bill more or less won’t tinker with those who get insurance through work, VA, Medicare, or Medicaid. (nobody can say what it will do tomorrow)

The poor souls it lambasts are those who buy it on their own or who are uninsured. Folks of modest means will get a credit to help buy it, and the poorest will be put on Medicaid.

The $15,000 is not something Palin created as a political ploy. The figure came from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that when all the reforms are enacted by 2016, a basic family policy will cost $15,000.

What about the tax credits? Well, right now, it is on a sliding scale up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which means for a family of four making under $88,200 or a single under $43,320, there will be some relief. How much? Beats me. That’s another one of those ‘reforms’ left up to a panel of bureaucrats, so guess what?

She was wrong when she made the comment that Reagan inherited a recession much worse than this one. Lou Jacobson of the ‘St. Petersburg News’ talked with economists and compared statistics of the current recession with the one from the early 1980s. The consensus was that this recession is worse.

Why? Well, from what he wrote, economists (not bureaucrats) believe short and long-term employment will continue to rise; industrial production will continue to fall; more banks will fail; and more foreclosures will take place.

On the other hand, she was right when she stated that Obama admitted that “under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

In fairness to him, he went on to say, "Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."

All I can say is that joker is mighty anxious to spend my money.
If you’ve been paying any attention, you’ve seen the press Palin is getting about her book.

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it seems to me the last time I witnessed such a groundswell of adoration was prior to the 2008 election when the majority of Americans swept up in Obamamania.

Remember the old saying, ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Let’s don’t let emotion cause us to make another big mistake like the one we have now. Let’s start asking hard questions and demanding straight answers for all of the politicians. We can’t afford more of the same.

tough turkey

One Tough Turkey

If I’ve learned anything in this life of mine, it is family makes holidays happy and joyous, not golden brown turkeys or a carload of presents. To be honest, I can’t remember the meals or the gifts, but I have a vivid recollection of the family gathered round, sitting on every available chair, armrest, stool, or sitting cross-legged on the floor, all balancing plates of fired chicken on their laps with glasses of tea or buttermilk sitting on the floor beside them while they laughed and joked about old memories.

When I was a kid. We never had turkey, but I’ll never forget the time we had rooster out at my grandparents’ farm. Yep, that’s right, a big old white leghorn rooster that was meaner than sin.

The year after the war, we arrived at Mama and Papa’s a couple days early. My cousin Ed and his folks lived on the farm. Ed could do everything about the farm better than me, milk cows, gather eggs, feed stock. But the one skill of his I most envied was his deadly accuracy with the slingshot, you know, that Y shaped weapon that has gotten more than one mischievous boy in a heap of trouble.

Ed could knock birds out of a tree. I missed the tree. He could pop a cotton ball from the branch. I couldn’t hit the cotton patch itself. The only time I hit anything was when I was aiming at something else.

Of course, great hunters that we were, we had to go on safari around the farm. To my chagrin, Ed got a barn pigeon. I missed the barn—from inside. Now they had an old rooster that was cock-eyed, but he was Papa’s prize rooster. Several times, the rooster charged us, but Ed always stopped him with a rock at the rooster’s feet.

Next morning, after Ed left for the last day of school before Thanksgiving, I set out to sharpen my slingshot skills.

Keeping my eyes peeled for the old cock-eyed rooster, I spent the morning stalking pigeons and sparrows. Once, I sent some tail feathers flying, but that was it. I did send a few cows and hogs scrambling, and soon I was able to hit a tin can two or three out of ten shots. Never saw the rooster.

Then, on the way to the house for dinner, that sucker jumped me, flailing his wings and flashing his wicked spurs. I whipped off a shot at his feet, and hit that cock-eyed bird in the head.

He did half-a-dozen somersaults, staggered around like some of my uncles after too much celebrating, bounced off the ground more times than I could count and finally flopped down into a ditch by the end of a culvert, something else I’ve witnessed from some of my uncles.

I looked around in horror. No one had seen me. My heart pounding, I jammed a couple tumbleweeds over the still twitching rooster, then hightailed it back to the barn where I remained the rest of the day, waiting for my reckoning. Just about the time I began to relax, Mama Holley suddenly appeared in the barn door, the rooster in her hand.

Grabbing me my the ear, she led me into the house where, with the stern admonition that was my meal the next day, she ducked the rooster in scalding water, then into the sink and put me to plucking.

The whole family teased me, warning me about how tough that old rooster would be after Mama baked it.

Now, our family was so large, we had to eat buffet style. You can imagine my surprise when, instead of the baked rooster, Mama set a large bowl with a fluted rim next to the platter of fried chicken. In the bowl reposed the old rooster, cut up and stewed until the meat fell off the bones.

Heaped over a bed of mashed potatoes, that was one tasty rooster, as roosters go. In fact, the stew disappeared faster than the fried chicken.

After dinner, Papa took me aside and told me I had to buy him another rooster, but since I had no money, he reckoned I could clean out the stalls in the barn.
I wanted to argue, but one look at my Dad, and I agreed.

That was sixty-three years ago. You know, I can still smell those stalls. Jeez, wouldn’t it be nice to go back for awhile?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

tought turkey

One Tough Turkey

If I’ve learned anything in this life of mine, it is family makes holidays happy and joyous, not golden brown turkeys or a carload of presents. To be honest, I can’t remember the meals or the gifts, but I have a vivid recollection of the family gathered round, sitting on every available chair, armrest, stool, or sitting cross-legged on the floor, all balancing plates of fired chicken on their laps with glasses of tea or buttermilk sitting on the floor beside them while they laughed and joked about old memories.

When I was a kid. We never had turkey, but I’ll never forget the time we had rooster out at my grandparents’ farm. Yep, that’s right, a big old white leghorn rooster that was meaner than sin.

The year after the war, we arrived at Mama and Papa’s a couple days early. My cousin Ed and his folks lived on the farm. Ed could do everything about the farm better than me, milk cows, gather eggs, feed stock. But the one skill of his I most envied was his deadly accuracy with the slingshot, you know, that Y shaped weapon that has gotten more than one mischievous boy in a heap of trouble.
Ed could knock birds out of a tree. I missed the tree. He could pop a cotton ball from the branch. I couldn’t hit the cotton patch itself. The only time I hit anything was when I was aiming at something else.

Of course, great hunters that we were, we had to go on safari around the farm. To my chagrin, Ed got a barn pigeon. I missed the barn—from inside. Now they had an old rooster that was cock-eyed, but he was Papa’s prize rooster. Several times, the rooster charged us, but Ed always stopped him with a rock at the rooster’s feet.

Next morning, after Ed left for the last day of school before Thanksgiving, I set out to sharpen my slingshot skills.

Keeping my eyes peeled for the old cock-eyed rooster, I spent the morning stalking pigeons and sparrows. Once, I sent some tail feathers flying, but that was it. I did send a few cows and hogs scrambling, and soon I was able to hit a tin can two or three out of ten shots. Never saw the rooster.

Then, on the way to the house for dinner, that sucker jumped me, flailing his wings and flashing his wicked spurs. I whipped off a shot at his feet, and hit that cock-eyed bird in the head.

He did half-a-dozen somersaults, staggered around like some of my uncles after too much celebrating, bounced off the ground more times than I could count and finally flopped down into a ditch by the end of a culvert, something else I’ve witnessed from some of my uncles.

I looked around in horror. No one had seen me. My heart pounding, I jammed a couple tumbleweeds over the still twitching rooster, then hightailed it back to the barn where I remained the rest of the day, waiting for my reckoning. Just about the time I began to relax, Mama Holley suddenly appeared in the barn door, the rooster in her hand.

Grabbing me my the ear, she led me into the house where, with the stern admonition that was my meal the next day, she ducked the rooster in scalding water, then into the sink and put me to plucking.

The whole family teased me, warning me about how tough that old rooster would be after Mama baked it.

Now, our family was so large, we had to eat buffet style. You can imagine my surprise when, instead of the baked rooster, Mama set a large bowl with a fluted rim next to the platter of fried chicken. In the bowl reposed the old rooster, cut up and stewed until the meat fell off the bones.

Heaped over a bed of mashed potatoes, that was one tasty rooster, as roosters
go. In fact, the stew disappeared faster than the fried chicken.

After dinner, Papa took me aside and told me I had to buy him another rooster, but since I had no money, he reckoned I could clean out the stalls in the barn.

I wanted to argue, but one look at my Dad, and I agreed.

That was sixty-three years ago. You know, I can still smell those stalls. Jeez, wouldn’t it be nice to go back for awhile?

rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

rooster for thanksgiving

One Tough Turkey

If I’ve learned anything in this life of mine, it is that holidays are made happy and joyous because of family, not golden brown turkeys or a carload of presents. To be honest, I can’t remember the meals or the gifts, but I have a vivid recollection of the family gathered round, sitting on every available chair, armrest, stool, all balancing plates of fired chicken on their laps with glasses of tea or buttermilk sitting on the floor beside them while they laughed and joked about old memories.

When I was a kid. We never had turkey. Once, though, we had rooster out at my grandparents’ farm. Yep, that’s right, a big old white leghorn rooster that was meaner than sin.

Descended from hardy pioneers, Mama Holley never discarded anything. She always found a use for it, and that’s where the rooster came in.

The year after the war, we arrived at Mama and Papa’s a couple days early. My cousin Ed and his folks lived on the farm. Ed could do everything about the farm better than me, milk cows, gather eggs, feed stock. But the one skill of his I most envied was his deadly accuracy with the slingshot, you know, that Y shaped weapon that has gotten more than one mischievous boy in a heap of trouble.

Ed could knock birds out of a tree. I usually missed the tree. He could pop a cotton ball from the branch. I couldn’t hit the cotton field itself.
The only time I hit something was when I was aiming at something else.

One holiday we went hunting with our slingshots. To my chagrin, Ed got a barn pigeon. I missed the barn—from inside. Now they had an old rooster that was cock-eyed, but he was Papa’s prize rooster. Several times, the rooster charged us, but Ed always stopped him with a rock at the rooster’s feet.

Next morning, after Ed left for the last day of school before Thanksgiving, I set out to sharpen my slingshot skills.

By now, the whole clan had gathered from five hundred miles around, around thirty or so. I had some other cousins there, but they were several years older, so I was all by myself. But that was okay. I had some practicing to get in.

Keeping my eyes peeled for the old cock-eyed rooster, I spent the morning stalking pigeons and sparrows. Once, I sent some tail feathers flying, but that was it. I did send a few cows and hogs scrambling, and soon I was able to hit a tin can two or three out of ten shots. Never saw the rooster.

Then, on the way to the house for dinner, that sucker jumped me, flailing his wings and flashing those spurs of his. I whipped off a shot at his feet, and hit that cockeyed bird in the head.

He did half-a-dozen somersaults, staggered around like some of my uncles after too much celebrating, bounced off the ground more times than I could count and finally flopped down into a ditch by the end of a culvert.

I looked around in horror. No one had seen me. My heart pounding, I jammed a couple tumbleweeds over the still twitching rooster, then hightailed it back to the barn where I remained the rest of the day, waiting for my reckoning. Just about the time I began to relax, Mama Holley suddenly appeared in the barn door, the rooster in her hand.

Grabbing me my the ear, she led me into the house where, with the admonition that was my meal the next day, she ducked the rooster in scalding water, then into the sink and put me to plucking.

The whole family teased me, warning me about how tough that old rooster would be after Mama baked it.

Well, our family was so large, we ate buffet style. You can imagine my surprise when next day, instead of the baked rooster, Mama set a large bowl next to the platter of fried chicken. In the bowl reposed the old rooster, cut up and stewed until the meat fell off the bones.

Heaped over a bed of mashed potatoes, that was one tasty rooster, as roosters go. In fact, the stew disappeared faster than the chicken.

After dinner, Papa took me aside and told me I had to buy him another rooster. Since I had no money, we struck a bargain. I could clean out the stalls in the barn.

I wanted to argue, but one look at my Dad, and I agreed.

That was sixty-three years ago. I can still smell those stalls as if it were yesterday.






rconwell@gt.rr.comwww.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

writing conference

Welcome Back, GTWG Conference

Isn’t it a good feeling when something you’ve being looking forward to turns out just about like you had hoped?

'That happened to me a couple weekends back when the Golden Triangle Writers Guild held its first writer’s conference in five years. Rita blew away the last one, and since then, it’s been a struggle for the folks at GTWG to put things back together.

But, they finally they got all the pieces together, and from October 22 through October 24, wanabe writers as well as experienced writers enjoyed two solid days of nothing but writing and all the collateral aspects of the craft.

It was held at the Elegante on I-10.

There were breakout sessions for poetry, screenwriting, fiction, and nonfiction.

Those who presented the programs were editors, agents, publishers, and writers.

Folks attend these conferences for many reasons; some to learn the nuts and bolts of the craft; others for contacts to further their own careers; others who desire to further hone their skills; and still others just because they enjoy the camaraderie of fellow writers.

Just as the opening weekend of hunting season is treasured by the hunter, this conference weekend was the perfect one for a writer.

Casey Kelly, as always, sorted though all the mysteries of screenwriting for the attendees. A longtime WGA screenwriter with two aired NBC movies of the week and other scripts written for CBS, Disney, Columbia, Paramount and Warner, she has two features currently in pre-production.

From romance to paranormal, there is no genre of writing the Pat LoBruto has not made is own either as an editor, writer, or anthologist. After thirty years, he became an Editorial Consultant and Master Class Instructor for authors, and acquiring editor for Tor/Forge and Quill Driver Book/Word Dancer Press.
With Pat, aspiring writers could ask questions to their heart’s content.

There were many there like Pat-- Jerry Grossman, Greg Tobin, Phil Martin of Creekhollow Books. And many more presenters to aid the unpublished as well as the published writers.

Catherine Sellers, one of the guild founders, helped the newcomer’s with the basics; Rebecca Hardin and Casey Kelly pointed how to new writers just how goal-setting would enhance their careers. New and old writers were shown how to develop book projects, write romance, and of course there were sessions on building stories, strong writing, novel secrets, believable characters, and selling the books.

And no GTWG conference would be complete without Robert Vaughn, both presenter and speaker at our luncheon. Dick is unique among those gracious enough to put on the conference. My first experience hearing Dick Vaughn was at the same hotel twenty-five years ago. From that one day session, I wrote my first romance novel, which I regret to say has never sold.

And none of this would have been available for the Golden Triangle had it not been for the writers’ guild and those who fought to bring it back from Hurricane Rita and nurtured it over the last few years.

D.J. Resnick, one of the founders of the guild back in the early eighties, was the primary force behind the rebirth of the conference. D.J. lives this side of Woodville, but teaches continuing writing courses at Lamar each semester.

After Rita blew the conference apart, the consensus was that the guild was dead. Twenty-five years is a long time for a social organization of such limited interest to survive, especially when the initial members begin moving away.

No question in my mind now, there will be another conference next year. You can count on it. Mark your calendar. Around the third weekend in October. Sharpen your pencil and pull out your pad. It’ll be a weekend you won’t forget.

And you can thank D.J.








rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

fun halloween

A Halloween to Remember

I’ve been lucky over the years for I’ve had some of the most frightening and exciting Halloweens ever.

In our little town in the Texas Panhandle, Halloween saw all the dusty streets filled with little ghosts and goblins. Not too many back then had costumes. If you were one of the lucky ones, you probably had a black mask like the Lone Ranger. Some of girls even had masks of pink or red.

One of the most common tricks back then was soaping windows. It was amazing how much writing you could get from a bar of Ivory soap. Some of the more daring boys toppled outhouses, what few there were; some went as far as putting cows on the schoolhouse roof or in the principal’s office.

But it just wasn’t kids who were out. Oh, no, there were always a few adults who planned on putting extra fright in some of the trick or treaters—all in fun.
I had a couple of those experiences

Once, I spent Halloween on my grandmother’s farm. With only one neighbor, so I figured Halloween was shot.

Then one of my uncles told my cousin, Ed, and me that if we really wanted to see a scary ghost that night, all we had to do was put our clothes on backwards and then walk backwards three times around the old hanging tree by the cow tank. According to my uncles, if we did that, the rustler who had been hanged would reappear that night.

Well, we didn’t really believe his trick to conjure up a ghost, but that afternoon, when no one was looking, Ed and I put our clothes on backward and walked backward around the hanging tree three times.

That night, Ed and I trudged down the lane with handkerchiefs over our faces like bank robbers in the Saturday picture shows, and trick or treated the neighbors. Of course, they let on like they didn’t know who we were and pretended they were frightened.

Then their two boys accompanied us back to my grandparents so we could trick or treat them. Before we left, we told our friends about conjuring up the ghost. They snickered at us.

Now, you’ve got to get the picture here. The full moon was straight overhead. On either side of the lane were pastures dotted with mesquite, and I promise you, in the dark, the twisted mesquite limbs took on mighty scary shapes in the eyes of spooky ten and eleven year old boys.

And the fact we were talking about ghosts and werewolves and such didn’t help. Our frightened eyes made every shadow into Dracula or the Frankenstein monster.

And then we saw it. Far to the north in the pasture, a floating white object. The wind seemed to be carrying it toward us, and then a mournful, whining moan came through the mesquite.

I remember leaning forward and squinting at the apparition, and when I looked around, I was all alone. My cousin and his pals were a hundred yards down the lane. Well, you can believe me when I can tell you, I did my best to catch up with them.

The apparition grew closer, and I ran harder. I caught them as they reached the house, and we burst inside, four breathless, frightened boys.

It must have taken us ten minutes to stammer out what happened. The grownups shook their head, and one uncle growled at us. “Did you boys put your clothes on backward?”

Reluctantly, we nodded.

He groaned. “That did it. That brought back old Burl.”

Another one nodded. “How long’s it been now, fifty years since he got cut all to pieces. He’s still looking for his missing hand.”

“Never did find who cut him down and chopped him up.”

Well, you can imagine when we heard that, our eyes bugged out like a stepped-on toad frogs.

And I don’t have to tell you how big they got when my grandfather said, “Well, Kent, it’s getting late. You and Ed walk your young friends back home, and then hurry back.”

Wild horses couldn’t have pulled us from that house.

One of my uncles had to take our friends back home.

And they couldn’t get us outside the next day.

Years later, we learned the whole family had played a big joke on Ed and me. It was my Uncle Bud, Ed’s daddy, who played Burl in a sheet.As I stare into the flames in our fireplace now, I tell you this, folks, those are memories I’ll never forget.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

halloween tales

A Halloween to Remember

I’ve been lucky over the years for I suppose I’ve had some of the most frightening and exciting Halloweens ever.

In our little town in the Texas Panhandle, Halloween saw all the dusty streets filled with little ghosts and goblins. Not too many back then had costumes. If you were one of the lucky ones, you probably had a black mask like the Lone Ranger. Some of girls even had masks of pink or red.

One of the most common tricks back then was soaping windows. It was amazing how much writing you could get from a bar of Ivory soap. Some of the more daring boys toppled outhouses, what few there were; some went as far as putting cows on the schoolhouse roof or in the principal’s office.

Our little town was small enough that within two hours, a youngster could cover all the streets and stagger home with a load of treats.
And it just wasn’t kids who were out.

Oh, no, there were always a few adults who planned on putting extra fright in some of the trick or treaters—all in fun.

I had a couple of those experiences

Once, to my dismay, I had to spend Halloween on my grandmother’s farm out around Lubbock. There was only one neighbor, so I figured Halloween was shot.
Then one of my uncles told my cousin, Ed, and me that if we really wanted to see a scary ghost that night, all we had to do was put our clothes on backwards and then walk backwards around the old hanging tree three times. Now, the hanging tree was an ancient cottonwood by the cow tank that according to my uncles had once had a rustler strung from it. According to my uncle, the dead man would reappear sometime that night.

Well, we didn’t really believe his trick to conjure up a ghost, but that afternoon, when no one was looking, Ed and I put our clothes on backward and walked backward around the hanging tree three times.

That night, Ed and I trudged down the lane with handkerchiefs over our faces like bank robbers in the Saturday picture shows, and trick or treated the neighbors. Of course, they let on like they didn’t know who we were and pretended they were frightened.

Then their two boys accompanied us back to my grandparents so we could trick or treat them. Before we left, we told our friends about conjuring up the ghost.

They snickered at us.

Now, you’ve got to get the picture here. The full moon was straight overhead. On either side of the lane were pastures dotted with mesquite, and I promise you, in the dark, the twisted mesquite limbs took on mighty grotesque shapes in the eyes of spooky ten and eleven year old boys.

And the fact we were talking about ghosts and werewolves and such didn’t help. Our frightened eyes made every shadow into Dracula or the Frankenstein monster.

And then we saw it. Far to the north in the pasture, a floating white object. The wind seemed to be carrying it toward us, and then a mournful, whining moan came through the mesquite.

I remember leaning forward and squinting at the apparition, and when I looked around, I was all alone. My cousin and his pals were a hundred yards down the lane. Well, you can believe me when I can tell you, I did my best to catch up with them.

The apparition grew closer, and I ran harder. I caught them as they reached the house, and we burst inside, four breathless, frightened boys.

It must have taken us ten minutes to stammer out what happened. The grownups shook their head, and one uncle growled at us. “Did you boys put on your clothes backward?”

Reluctantly, we nodded.

He groaned. “That did it. That brought back old Burl.”

Another one nodded. “How long’s it been now, fifty years since he got cut all to pieces. He’s still looking for his missing hand.”

“Just about. Never did find who did it.”

Well, you can imagine when we heard that, our eyes bugged out like a stepped-on toad frogs.

And I don’t have to tell you how big they got when my grandfather said, “Well, Kent, it’s getting late. You and Ed walk your young friends back home, and then hurry back.”

Wild horses couldn’t have pulled us from that house.

One of my uncles had to take our friends back home.

And they couldn’t get us outside the next day.

Years later, we learned the whole family had played a big joke on Ed and me. It was my Uncle Bud, Ed’s daddy, who played Burl in a sheet.As I stare into the flames in our fireplace now, I tell you this, folks, those are memories I’ll never forget.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grab a big bat

rconwell@gt.rr.com

Carry a Big Bat

As a kid, I was skinny and short, a physique that was less than intimidating in the country school I attended in the forties.

Even back then, there were discriminating groups, the country kids and the town kids. I was considered a town kid even through we lived a mile from town on five acres with some stock and few crops, most for personal use.

Like most youngsters, I didn’t like to fight although such Donnybrooks were the most popular events during recess. I can’t count the number of times the combatants would sneak to the rear of the building and proceed to whale the daylights out of each other.

Oh, we always kept lookouts at the corner, but more than once as a lookout, I spotted teachers looking our direction, then turning away.

I finally figured out they knew what was going on, and since boys were boys, the youthful pugilists would rid their bodies of all those raging hormones and return to class docile as kittens.

More than once, I a proponent in the battle, and more than once, I ended up with a bloody nose or a scraped chin or a black eye.

When the battle was over and the dust had settled, we shook hands and then arms draped over each other’s shoulder, strolled back to class.

But, like every class in every school, we had our bullies. Take my word, some of those farm boys were big, especially those who had repeated the fourth grade three times.

That was way back in the days when schools insisted kids learn or fail. There was no kissy-kissy, bleeding hearts worrying about the kid’s self-esteem. If he failed, his father applied the self-esteem with a boot to the miscreant’s posterior.

A horrible act today. If the father weren’t tasered, stomped on, or run over, he would be convicted of child abuse, sexual deviancy, and if nothing else, driving without a license.

Our bully was named Doyle. Even today, every time I meet someone named Doyle, I think of our Doyle. Three years in the fourth grade, two heads taller than us, twice as wide, three times as strong, and mean as the dickens.

I wasn’t the only one he picked on. He selected a new victim daily so his old classmates who were now in the seventh grade would still consider him one of them. We couldn’t whip him. He was too big. All we could do was try to talk him out of whipping up on us too much.

I learned quickly not to go home crying when I got beat up. Dad didn’t care for whiners. One day when I was pretty much torn asunder by Doyle, Dad told me to pick up a club. That’s all bullies understand, a club.

A club? I would never have thought of that. Gene Autry never used a club! He always whipped the bad guys with his fists in a fair fight at the Saturday afternoon picture show.

At recess sometime later, Doyle started pushing me around, laughing and waving to his seventh grade friends. We were playing softball, and a ball bat lay nearby. I told him to stop, but he pushed me down.

I cracked two of his ribs with that ball bat, and fat Doyle never bothered me again. You know, Doyle wasn't so mean after all.

Think about it. America has a bunch of ball bats lying around. What we need now is someone with the guts to swing those bats, because right now there are half-a-dozen Doyles coming out of the woodwork, their mouths watering at what appears to be the old timey 98-pound weakling named America.

The national columnist, Cal Thomas is right. Bullies, like Doyle, fear one thing, and one thing only, strength, and the knowledge it will be used against them.

Like him or not, Bush used strength. Now, after a few months of our present administration, terrorist cells are beginning to grow once again. Is it because those Doyles don’t believe we’ll do anything about it? The answer is obvious.

I don’t know what will happen. All I know is that kissy-kissy never won the bully over. Never! But, now, on the other hand, you take a big bat---
















rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 4, 2009

another so called change

Another So-Called Change

Excuse me for saying it, Mr. President, but you’re beginning to remind me of the ubiquitous soccer mom, her day filled with frenetic activity from before dawn until after sunset.

She runs the kids to school, after school activities; she shops; cleans; attends PTA; volunteers, all while packing in a dozen other obligations. All these responsibilities stretch her thinner than a politicians’ promise.

And whether she likes it or not, she is well aware than many of her obligations suffer from lack of attention.

You’re doing the same.

By taking on too much, cap and trade, stimulus, health, immigration, Olympics, and education, there is no way you can devote the requisite energy and attention to them all.

Sure, you were voted in because many wanted change. In their eagerness to make their lives better, they grasped at straws, and you were the straw they grabbed. So desperate, they never thought to ask what kind of change you had in mind.

Mr. President, you are attempting to change too much, too fast. What do you think all the fuss is about? And no, it isn’t because we’re a mob, savages, Nazis, un-American, non-Democrats, or uncooperative. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we uncooperative. It simply means eighty percent of us want to be heard and not have our opinions simply dismissed as you so curtly did with that steely-eyed remark in August, "I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.”

And now you plan on drastically changing education in America. As in all your various agendas, your team resorts to half-truths and outright fabrications to support your premises.

Since you’re from Chicago, it is no surprise you select people you know from that area to fill positions. That’s the way the political game is played. We all know that. Still, your choice of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education is puzzling. Either it was simply a political payback or a coin toss. It couldn’t have been his accomplishments as CEO of Chicago Schools

Greatschools, a nation wide non-profit organization that provides K-12 information about all private, public, and charter schools, ranked Chicago schools as a 4 out of 10 while rating Nederland and Port Neches as sevens and eights. A sobering comparison, huh?

After eight years as CEO, Duncan couldn’t even get the district to a passing score, and yet you’re listening to him about how to better American education?

Get real, Mr. President.

According to the Associated Press, Duncan explained his rationale for wanting longer school days by saying ‘Young people in other countries are going to school twenty-five, thirty percent longer than our students here.” He added to the AP. “I want to just level the playing field.”

Sounds noble, you think?

Mr. President, that’s just another of the many fabrications to make your position look good.

In fact, according to the AP, U.S. kids spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours yearly) than kids in Asian schools that outscore us in math and science.

True, Japan and Hong Kong, said the AP, have longer school years by up to twenty days, but only spend 1,005-1,013 instructional hours yearly.
Don’t misunderstand. More time would help, but let’s be realistic about what is done and how it is achieved.

I can’t believe you’re taking the word of a man who couldn’t get his own district above a forty percent ranking. No, it had to be a political payoff.

And for Pete’s sake, either tell your people to stop making up data or be perceptive enough to figure out when they’re blowing smoke rings.

rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bias in Reporting

Honest Writing, not Biased

I’m constantly amazed at how columnists of different cultures can get away with accusing those who disagree with them of bias, a reprehensible behavior many of them are pulling off with every word they write.

I don’t know if they perceive their slant, their view, to be biased or not. To
compound the problem, many of them do not understand some of the subjects of which they write.

One, a national columnist who is Hispanic, took on President Obama’s speech to school kids, but in doing so, he revealed his own lack of expertise in the realm of education, a lack of expertise shared not only many columnists, but most legislators.

As in many of his columns, he displayed Hispanic bias. Now, you can call it ‘cultural pride’, ‘Latino experience’ or ‘Hispanic histronics’, or whatever, but bias is bias is bias.

I read the speech. While I disagree with much of the president’s agenda, I saw nothing wrong with his speech.

I did agree with the columnist when he suggested throwing money at education did not automatically improve it. He continued by remarking that some of the highest funded schools in the country are the worst while some charter schools are accomplishing much more with less funding. Why? Greater autonomy and flexibility.

He’s right. Throwing money at education doesn’t make kids smarter.

I could only shake my head when the writer put the blame for black student failure on teachers by claiming that many teachers have a lot of trouble imagining black American students as being high achievers. I don’t know what he meant by ‘many’. I do know of all the hundreds of teachers with whom I taught over a lifetime, I could count on one hand the type of whom he spoke. But, however you cut the deck, so few could not have created the dreadful problems so many black communities today face as he stated.

The suggestion is made that parents ask the schools why their low-achieving kids (of all races) are being short-changed. I think that’s a great idea, although not in the way he intended. I like it because in order to ask the question, those parents will have to get off their lazy tails and up to school. (fat chance)

Perhaps if the columnist had more experience in pedagogy, he would not have permitted the current federal administration to lead him by the nose when it suggested education reform by ‘charter schools, merit pay, greater accountability, etc.’

First time I heard that nonsense was in the days of Mark White—Jeez, how long ago was that, a century?

To begin, merit pay is simply a shaggy dog story!

What unbiased instrument will be used to determine which schools or teachers receive extra pay? Who will evaluate? A robot?

Years back, Texas tried such a plan. Many of us remember it as a joke, a senseless effort by state legislators to justify teacher raises.

The plan had supervisors evaluating teachers under them, teachers with whom they had worked for years. So, take a wild guess at the results.

There is no fair and impartial means to determine merit pay just as there is no way to establish fair and impartial guidelines for accountability. Testing can’t measure school quality. All it simply measures is which districts spent more time teaching the test.

Perhaps the closest thing to it is coaching. Win or die. And that’s pretty harsh, gambling a career on sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds.

How would you pull off that little miracle in an English classroom? When the columnist, or President Obama, or Education Secretary Arne Duncan find out, I wish they’d let me know.

I’ve seen thousands of kids go through school, and ninety-nine percent of them who do well have support at home. And yes, many of the homes were one-parent, but that one parent supported, disciplined, and loved the kid.

I have no idea how to solve so many of the problems that plague youngsters in deteriorating communities, but whatever the answers might be, parental love, discipline, and involvement has to be at the very top.

rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Great American Novel

The Great American Novel
Have you ever dreamed of writing the ‘Great American Novel’? No? How about an Academy Award for a screenplay?

I once heard that there is a best selling novel in every person. The secret is to get it into print. We all dream, but you have to work to make the dream a reality.
And it is much simpler to do than you might imagine. You just go out and do it. That’s what I mean by simple. Now, I didn’t say easier. I said simpler. In some uses, simple and easy might be synonymous, but not in this case.

Over the years, I’ve had aspiring writers call and ask how to go about it. That’s the big problem, that first step.

Well, if you’re interested in any kind of writing, the next few months should give
you the jump-start you need.

Twenty-five years ago, I read a news release about a Romance Writers’ Group meeting at the old Hilton on I-10.

The speaker was Robert Vaughn. I had no idea who he was, and I wasn’t particularly interested in getting hooked up with a bunch of flighty romance writers.

My wife and I talked it over. I think it only cost ten bucks or so for all day, so I went. Simple as that.

Robert Vaughn was remarkable. The romance writers were extraordinary.
I wrote my first women’s thriller from the information I garnered that day. Now, it’s never been published, but that few hours provided me the impetus to get off my keister and do what I had been prattling about for the last twelve or thirteen years.

That organization is now the Golden Triangle Writers’ Guild. And if you’re interested, it meets the second Tuesday at 7:30 pm at Barnes & Noble out at Parkdale.

And what’s really nice is that once a year in October, the Guild hosts a writer’s conference, bringing in writers, agents, and editors from around the country.
This year the conference is at the MGM Elegante from October 22-24. For more information, go to the web site, gtwg.org or contact D.J. Resnick at kdwriters@yahoo.com.

There’s something there for everyone. Song-writing, mystery, suspense, romance, thrillers, action-adventure, poetry, forensics--over thirty presenters will be here for those three days.

In addition, Lamar University Continuing Education is offering a series of non-credit writing courses both online and on campus. They offer them each spring and fall.

There are several from which to choose: article writing; teen writing; how to write fiction; novel writing, and several others. Go the ‘The Write Site’ at Lamar Continuing Education. Instructors are experienced writers such as D.J. Resnick, Jessica Ferguson, Carol A. Thomas, Jessica Burkhart, and yours truly.

Yes, I shamelessly admit that I teach a short six-week course in the spring and fall titled ‘Writing the Novel.’ It is a hand’s on course where students actually write parts of the novel so we can critique in class.

By the end of the six-week period, many students have written the beginning, the end, and outlined the middle of the book.

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest problem with writing is to figure out that first step. In addition, grammar, format, and submission methods are discussed.

Nothing turns an editor or agent off like poorly constructed sentences and grammatical errors. You might have the greatest story ever told, that legendary ‘Great American Novel’, but if the editor can’t get past the first few pages because of poor writing, it will make no matter. Today, we’re fortunate to have spell check, which catches the majority of these errors—but not all.

If you’re interested in more information about any of the writing classes at Lamar, go to www.lulearn.net’writesite or contact Rhonda at 880-2233.

There’s a lot of myths about writing, and either at the conference or the writing classes, you’ll have many of them dispelled.

So, if you’ve ever had the itch to write, the next few months can scratch it for you.


rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 29, 2009

take a grandson fishing

Add a Day to Your Life-Take a Grandchild Fishing

We’ve all heard it said that God never counts a day of fishing against your life span. Who knows, maybe He’ll even toss in an extra day if you take a grandchild fishing. And maybe even a third day if the child manages to snag a fish on that first trip.

That’s what happened to Gayle and me when a couple Saturdays back, we went fishing for the first time in a few years.

We’ve had our boats, and always got a kick out of fishing the river and lake. Once, years back, we had a deep V in which we went offshore—offshore to me being no more than a couple miles from the beach.

Once we had a twenty-one foot pontoon boat, and believe me, cumbersome as they are, they are ideal fishing platforms. We sold our last boat, a jon boat, a couple years back. It had been setting up for the past ten.

Now, we bank fish at Sabine Lake, and usually we do okay. More than anything, it’s a chance to relax, soak up some sun and breathe in the fresh, clean air off the water.

A month or so back, the older grandson, Keegan, who is almost five, mentioned something about fishing. At that age, their little I-want-this and I-want-that minds jump from one interest to the other faster than a cricket dodging a hungry chicken.

I just figured he’d let it drop, but he didn’t.

One day he popped in and informed me he had found the ideal fishing pole at Target.

Again, I just figured he’d let it drop, but, guess what? He didn’t.

Without warning, all the planets fell into line, Mars was larger than it would be for the next trillion years, and the day arrive when we kept him because both his Mom and Dad were working. Fate couldn’t have dealt out a better hand to the little guy, so, we decided, why not?

That morning, we found him a small Zebco rod and reel, a Lightning McQueen outfit. Back at the house, I pulled out our tackle boxes, brushed ten years of dust and debris off them; dusted, then washed and oiled the fishing rods and reels; finally managed to find a couple that worked well.

I’m not even going to go into the problems we faced getting licenses on a Saturday. But we got them.

We decided to go to Sabine Lake. We could have fished down at Port Neches Park, but the little guy would have had to wear a lifejacket, and the ninety-degree plus sun was too hot.

We fished the south revetment with all the rocks where I quickly discovered ten years had handily curtailed my balance as I tried to bounce from one rock to another. While I was bouncing, Gayle was catching fish. Finally we gave up and headed down to the causeway.

The beach was sandy, the water shallow, and believe it or not, the fish were biting, more or less.

Keegan quickly shed his shirt while I threw out his bait and handed him his rod.
In the meantime, Gayle caught another fish.

And then Keegan had a strike, and his line drew tight and the tip of his rod bent down.

Oh, was he excited, yelling for his ‘MeeMee’ to come help.

He did the most of it, and hauled in a fat little redfish about fifteen inches long. After we took a few pictures, we turned the fish back, explaining to the little guy we had to obey the law.

We were out two, maybe three hours, and all three of us were ready to come home and hop in the swimming pool.

Maybe next time, he’ll catch one that Gayle can fry up for him.

I know one thing, from the look on his face and the way he laughed, he’s got the making of a lifelong fisherman.

The other grandson is Mikey. He isn’t quite three. Another couple years, and we’ll have a team of fishermen around here.

Do you think God might toss in a fourth extra day for another grandson?

Oh, well, even if He doesn’t, it’s worth it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

free is nice, best is better

Free is Nice, but Best is Better.

A wag on my old high school chat group sent me this article that is typical of many whizzing around cyberspace this year.

The article states that “Obama’s health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it, whose members will be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who evaded his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke.”

Now, we can laugh at this, but you know, if you stop and think about it, it could also make you cry.

I don’t know the name of committee head who made the remark-if they made the remark, but you’re as aware as I that no one in Congress understands the entire bill. It’s impossible. From front to back, the document is couched in government jargon.

However, you and I both know that when Congress started pushing the bill that 1. the majority of our representatives had not read it and consequently, 2. they had no idea what was in it, and 3. they knew they were exempt from it.

Given the third point, it is obvious why they were indifferent to the first two points. Hey, we’re just stupid and ignorant beasts of the field out here. They’re important; they’re Congressmen(at least until 2010).

I don’t see how anyone can argue those points, nor 4. argue that our president doesn’t smoke. Of course, smoking is his own choice. It’s no skin off my teeth if he wants to savage his body like that, but he has a lot of gall to insist he knows what’s best for millions of Americans while abusing his own body.

On top of that, 5. we cannot dispute the fact Treasury Chief Geithner did not pay his 2001-2004 taxes in the amount of $43,100.00, or 6. that the surgeon general from Alabama is overweight.

What our president has given us is a collection of administrators with little or no self-discipline to tell us what to do. Excuse me for saying it, but that’s like naming Bonnie and Clyde the president of the First National Bank and entrusting them with the bank customers’ money.

And point 7., at 9:41 am, August 20, 2009, the U.S. debt was “11,731,591,419,387.00 and growing over a hundred thousand every five (5) seconds. That comes out in excess of thirty-eight thousand for each American—not counting the twenty million illegals in the country.

And Folks, we still have the trillions of the health care bill to add.

I hear from the media that the Democrats are tired of trying to come up with a bi-partisan bill. There’s talk they’ll go it alone, using the strong-arm tactic of ‘reconciliation’, a political technique allowing a group to bend the rules enough to pass a bill.

You know, those guys-and gals up there-I’m talking about both parties- are, the most part, career leeches—whoops, I mean legislators. They’ve made a more than comfortable living off the American taxpayer for a good spell.

I find it hard to believe (but then I’m not too smart) that the Democrats would hazard a chance on pushing the bill through by themselves and taking the subsequent political hit next year.

Given the ineptness with which government has run various programs over the years (FEMA for a beginning), the plan has a better than average chance of catastrophe. If that happens, there goes the Democrat party.

I’d hazard a guess that then only the iron-clad liberals would stick with the party. From left-leaning voters all the way over to staunch conservatives would be furious at the tax hit they’ll take plus the trauma of the health bill being jammed down their throats.

Cal Thomas summed it up when he quoted an excerpt from an editorial in the Daily Mail in Britain. “Our(Britain) survival rates for breast, prostate, ovarian, and lung cancers are among the worst in Europe despite huge additional expenditures.” Free is nice, but best is better.

The writer is right. Free is nice, but best is better, and despite our problems, our health care is the best in the world.








www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dilemma of Bare Toes

The Dilemma of Bare Toes

I’m sitting here now looking at a sixty-seven year-old portrait of Dad, Mom, my brother, Sam, and me that was made in Shamrock, Texas only a hour or so before Dad left to go overseas in World War II. The year was 1943.

In the portrait, Dad wore his Navy blues, his three stripes showing proudly on his sleeve. Mom, wearing a black coat with a white blouse, sat next to him, and I stood next to her. Dad held Sam, who was about one at the time. With the exception of Sam, we all wore sailor hats.

For the next two years, like hundreds of thousands of families with no husbands or fathers, we went about the job in our small town of keeping the country running until the men came home.

Those years when I was seven through twelve stand out as the carefree days of summer should, idyllic and filled with adventure.

Our spring and autumns were a mixture of chores and school. The summers brought more chores, but also allowed us the freedom to roam the small town.

With the ending of school came the annual shedding of footwear and a summer of unrequited freedom. Of course, we suffered stubbed toes and bloody cuts until our bare feet had toughened to the hardpan roads and simmering hot asphalt streets.

Who can forget the agony of stepping in a glob of hot tar and bouncing around on one foot while trying to scrape it off the other?

There were numerous advantages to going barefoot. First, no shoes or socks. Hop up and out bed, into your pants and shirt, gobble breakfast, and head out for another day of play.

It’s hard to forget the delicious feel of running your toes through cool sand or grass. The only feeling better was sitting in the shade of a giant cottonwood dangling your sizzling feet in the icy water of a bubbling creek.

And among us boys, it was a given fact you could run almost as fast as Superman in your bare feet. Bare feet gave better purchase when balancing on a log over a creek.

Of course there were disadvantages.

Tree roots, rocks, and any other a number of unmovable objects played havoc with our bare toes. As soon as the skin healed back over the bloody toe, you’d invariably smash it again.

While the picture show would let you in barefoot Saturday afternoon, you had to wear shoes at night. Another disadvantage was riding bicycles, for back then the pedals came apart at the slightest bump, and instead of a flat pedal to propel yourself, you were forced to clamp your arch around a six-inch long cylinder.
And you never got used to that.

Another disadvantage were the grass burrs and goatheads. Grass burrs have heads with hundreds of tiny stickers, which, while they will stick, are fairly soft. Goatheads are about the size of a pea with one point projecting from each side-and that point won’t break. Our summer toughened feet could handle grass burrs without too much pain, but goatheads were the dickens itself to a boy’s foot.

Back then, you just couldn’t avoid grass burrs and goatheads. They were everywhere. When we came to a patch we had to cross we’d screw up our courage and on the count of three, take off. Once running, you didn’t dare stop. I don’t know why, but racing across a patch, we picked up only a few stickers, nowhere near as many as if we tried picking our way across step-by-step.

When we went out to milk the cows or slop the hogs, we always slipped into rubber boots. Not even our leathery feet could tolerate what the cow lots had to offer.

Yeah, looking at this old color picture in the original plastic Deco Art frame, brings back wonderful memories.

I just hope my children can look back over sixty-odd years of their life with their own wonderful memories.

www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Rant, Rave, Curse-And Say Nothing

409-724-2956
rconwell@gt.rr.com

Rant, Rave, Crawfish, but No Answers
If you missed last Sunday’s Enterprise article interviewing State Representative Joe Deshotel, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Teuscher, Catholic Bishop Curtis Guillory, and the Reverend James Fuller, you missed a point I’ve tried to emphasize regarding the health bill.
The bill is too vague, as in ‘not specific.’
The language in every section of the currently proposed health bill could be interpreted in several different ways, depending upon those doing the interpreting.
In other words, the thousand page plus document is the personification of politically obtuse narrative. And let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, our Congress is a master at obtuse narrative.
All of the gentleman in the article recognize the need for reform. Only one got into specifics, the others relying on inference and platitudes and anger.
No disrespect intended, but only one seemed to have a firm, specific grasp on specific problems and solutions regarding some aspects of the bill.
According to the Enterprise, Representative Deshotel stated that while health care is an issue of great concern, much of the hysteria over Obama’s proposal is irrational and the rumors absurd. “That’s so stupid-it let’s you know that’s not the issue-the issue is the president. They haven’t come to accept an African-American president,” he said.
‘Stupid’ is an ill-chosen remark. Stupid means ‘dull, foolish, inane.’ I suggest millions of Americans who simply want to express themselves or demand clarity are not stupid. They can’t all be ‘dull, foolish, inane.’
Then the extrapolation between ‘stupid’ and what the speaker considers consider the real issue is difficult for me to grasp. Sure, there are folks opposed to Obama because of his race, but not the majority of us.
Why is the hysteria ‘irrational’? Why is it ‘absurd’? How about letting us in on why you so believe. Perhaps we can agree. ‘Anyone can see it,’ is no answer.
Dr. Teuscher, who believes in reform, stated the government should not get into the medical health arena until it solves its current problems. Then he gave specific reasons. 1. Medicare is not paying its full share, leading doctors to limit the number of patients.
2. The system’s financing mechanism is broken. They’re paying for Medicare last year with payroll taxes you’re going tot pay next year. It’s not sustainable. It’s completely unsustainable.”
Now, that’s specific, but it is nothing we haven’t known. Why hasn’t something been done about Medicare? You really believe tossing a whole new system into the confused milieu right now is going to make things better?
Both Bishop Gillory and Reverend Fuller addressed it from their pulpits appropriately.
Neither provided any specific explanations regarding various aspects of the bill. Their bailiwick is the souls and care of their flocks, and both gentleman carry out their callings with the fervor that will assure them of stars in the crown when they meet St. Peter.
However, the Reverend did point out one aspect regarding the cost of health care. Noting that his own premiums were prohibitive, he suggested perhaps that might be lowered with the new bill. Then, he added that such a decrease could help offset the higher taxes expected to accompany a national health care system. And a system in which everyone paid into could result in lower costs for all.
The only exceptions I take to the gentleman’s remarks are two vague and indeterminate words, could and could. If you’ll listen to the proponents’ arguments, they are filled with ‘might’, ‘could,’ ‘looks like,’ ‘supposedly,’ ‘should’, and other such vague terms.
Neither the bishop, the reverend or the representative provided any specific answers. And that’s the overall problem with this bill.
If our lives are to be changed, we’re entitled to the dignity of a ‘will’, not ‘could’.


www.kentconwell.blogspot.com
rconwell@gt.rr.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

family memories

Summer on the Farm-Now Only a Poignant Memory

Back when I was just a kid without much common sense and even fewer neurons whizzing through my brain, I always looked forward to spending time at my maternal grandparents’ farm out by Lubbock, Texas on that vast expanse of geography my uncles called the ‘Great Plains’. That was just another name for the Staked Plains or the Llano Estacado.


The plains were called Staked Plains, so the story goes because they were flat and treeless—treeless and flat. Either way you said it, there was nothing growing on that vast expanse of Texas to point a hapless explorer back to the spot from which he had departed earlier that morning.

But there were those inventive yahoos who had an ‘eureka’ moment and drove stakes in the hard ground, i.e., Staked Plains, as a means to assist their return to their ‘however so humble’ abode that night.

It’s an eerie feeling, whether it be land or water; to quickly scan the empty vastness surrounding you and see nothing except your canteen and your pony (boat), neither I’m sorry to say, would offer much of a starting point for your trek back to your camp.

Now, I lived in Wheeler, some 250 miles from my grandparents; my older cousin, Dooley, 17, and his older brothers lived in Amarillo, a hundred miles closer to our grandparents. That branch of the family being right on the way, we always stopped in Amarillo and some of the family accompanied us on to the plains.

Dooley was five or six years older than me or Ed; consequently, as cousins do, he always picked on us. If you had older cousins, farm cousins, you know what I mean. They could be merciless in their taunting, but this time, Ed and I had already plotted our revenge before he could act. Heh, heh, heh.

Outside of the corrals and pigpens was a large water tank, fed by a windmill. Giant cottonwoods surrounded the tank, and naturally, like all boys, we’d strung up ropes in the limbs so we could play Tarzan.

Trust me, this plot had been thought out over a few month’a time, so we had a pretty god idea how it was going down.

The rope was about three-quarters of an inch thick, and we’d cut a little over half-way through it about a foot from the end, then used black electrical tape to wrap it. When Dooley sneered at us for holding above the tape, we said it was because we didn’t want our hands to slip. Heh, heh, heh. The dumb nut.

Now, it was a heap of fun to swing way out, then skim back in barely missing the water, but that’s not how Ed and I did it. Grabbing above the tape, we could only swing out a few feet, then tribble back in.

Dooley would yell at us. “Dummies! Now watch this. This is how you chickens ought to do it,” and then he’d grab the very bottom of the rope and go whizzing out over the tank, almost parallel to the water. He sneered at us.

He called us chicken-livered, and a lot of worse names. We just grinned at each other, hoping he’d hurry up and take the fall.

He’d make all kinds of fun at us

And then it happened.

Boy, that would sure have been a picture. He seemed to freeze in mid-air, his eyes bulging, his mouth gaping, and the scream stuck on his lips.
By the time he hit the water, we’d hit the hardpan road for our neighbor’s a quarter mile away.

If you know anything about cow tanks, you know just how that fine, dark black mud can penetrate everything, stain everything, and stink up
everything.

Naturally, he caught us and worked us over; perversely we even enjoyed it, even the cow patties in the middle of the back, and other such touches of rural revenge.

We all headed back home the next day, but not before Ed and I started planning our revenge on Dooley, and the day that we would start gathering eggs. Heh, heh, heh.

That was in the early fifties; Dooley enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Korea a few months later just after he turned eighteen. He went out on patrol and never returned. He is listed as MIA.I still get teary-eyed thinking about Dooley.

I feel sorry for those guys who never had a cousin like him. He was mean to us, but we loved the heck out of that guy.

health bill penalties

Just the Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts

I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but some folks have actually complained about the information I’ve tried to supply the last few weeks regarding the House Health Care Bill.

Most, but not all of the questions have arisen from someone jumping to an unwarranted conclusion based upon the information over which they simply skimmed.

For example, in one section of the bill, it talks about end-of-life counseling. One gentleman chided me for knot doing my research, referring me to a Snopes’ article on euthanasia.

I never mentioned euthanasia. I mentioned end-of-life counseling, which is in the bill--and not a bad idea either if that’s all it is. It was this gentleman’s assumption that connected the two.

That’s what I mean about jumping to conclusions. Several have suggested I used biased sources, left- or right-wing pundits. They’re all over the place, but they’re just as bad, as uncertain as flipping a coin—usually.
My primary source of information is the house bill itself. On one hand, I have the bill so I can go through it line by line; on the other, I have my document upon which I relate my own personal interpretations of the rules.

I might pose ideas with which you might not agree, but they are not lifted verb-by-verb from another’s equally inept interpretation.

Now, all that being said, and with assurance I’m not copying right- or left-wing regurgitation ad nauseam, let’s talk more about the bill.

Now when the president says ‘everyone’ will have health insurance, he ain’t just whistling Dixie (except for himself and those around him). Not only does the bill lay hefty penalties up to eight percent of the payroll on employers who fail to offer acceptable health plans, but they hit taxpayers with similarly harsh penalties.

In section 59B, we read the penalty for having no coverage. The bill states in subsection (a), TAX IMPOSED- in the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of acceptable health insurance according to subsection (d) at any time during the taxable years, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of: the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year---but it shall not exceed the applicable national average premium for such taxable year, an amount determined by the Secretary and the Health Choices Commissioner (this is a new one on me too).

The penalty is even more harsh if you fail to cover your dependents. You think that’s not going to burst the bubble of those young, first-time voters who were dying for a change?

Makes you wonder how those Washington whiz kids are going to handle the cardboard-box-sleeping-under-the-bridges constituents in their voting blocs.

Now, a couple pages farther in the bill, AND THIS REALLY TICKS ME OFF, page 170 to be exact when the bill addresses EXCEPTIONS TO THIS PENALTY. Nonresident Aliens - Subsection (a) – (the subsection mentioned above) – shall not apply to any individual who is a non-resident alien.

By the way, a non-resident alien is a person who is not a US Citizen and who does not meet either the ‘green card’ test or the ‘substantial presence’ test described in IRS Publication 159, US Tax Guide for Aliens.

The way I read this is that American citizens will have to pay the penalties, but illegal aliens will not.

I wish you critics would read it and tell me if I’m wrong on this interpretation. If I’m right, does that mean you and I are paying for old Tequila Joe?

Now, if you’re good hearted enough you don’t mind illegals wading across, how about picking up my share of their insurance tab?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

house bill part 3


I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but some folks have actually complained about the information I’ve tried to supply the last few weeks regarding the House Health Care Bill.
Most, but not all of the questions have arisen from someone jumping to an unwarranted conclusion based upon the information they skimmed over.

For example, in one section of the bill, it talks about end-of-life counseling. One gentleman chided me for knot doing my research, referring me to a Snopes’ article on euthanasia.
I never mentioned euthanasia. I mentioned end-of-life counseling. It was this gentleman’s assumption that connected the two.

That’s what I mean about jumping to conclusions. Several have suggested I used biased sources, left- or right-wing pundits. They’re all over the place, but they’re just as bad as flipping a coin—usually.

My primary source of information is the house bill itself. On one hand, I have the bill so I can go through it line by line; on the other, I have my document upon which I relate my own personal interpretations of the rules.

I might pose ideas with which you might not agree, but they are not lifted verb-by-verb from another’s equally inept interpretation.

Now, all that being said, and with assurance I’m not copying right- or left-wing regurgitation ad nauseam, let’s talk more about the bill.

Now when the president says ‘everyone’ will have health insurance, he ain’t just whistling Dixie (except for himself and those around him). Not only does the bill lay hefty penalties up to eight percent of the payroll on employers who fail to offer acceptable health plans, but they hit taxpayers with similarly harsh penalties.

In section 59B, we read the penalty for having no coverage. The bill states in subsection (a), TAX IMPOSED- in the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of acceptable health insurance according to subsection (d) at any time during the taxable years, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of: the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year---but it shall not exceed the applicable national average premium for such taxable year, an amount determined by the Secretary and the Health Choices Commissioner (this is a new one on me too)
The penalty is even more harsh if you fail to cover your dependents.

Makes you wonder how those Washington whiz kids are going to handle the cardboard-box-sleeping-under-the-bridges constituents of their voting blocs.

Now, a couple pages farther, AND THIS REALLY TICKS ME OFF, page 170 to be exact when the bill addresses exceptions to this penalty. Nonresident Aliens - Subsection (a) – the subsection mentioned above – shall not apply to any individual who is a non-resident alien.

By the way, a non-resident alien is a person who is not a US Citizen and who does not meet either the ‘green card’ test or the ‘substantial presence’ test described in IRS Publication 159, US Tax Guide for Aliens.

The way I read this is that American citizens will have to pay the penalties, but illegal aliens will not.

I wish you critics would read it and tell me if I’m wrong on this interpretation. If I’m right, does that mean you and I are paying for old Tequila Joe?

Now, if you’re good hearted enough you don’t mind for the next illegal wading across, how about pickup up the next two or three for me, okay?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

physician, patient-- protect thyself

Physician and Patient, Protect Thyself

No one likes the hassle of buying new health insurance, but at least, we can shop around.

But no more! The House Bill doesn’t give you a choice, not really. If you like to comparison shop, forget it. There will be nothing with which to compare the benefits.

On page 65 of the Health Bill, it states that the ‘Secretary of Health and Human Services’ shall establish a temporary reinsurance program to provide reimbursement for participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and eligible spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents of such retires. To me, and probably also to you, health benefits means medical, surgical, hospital, prescription drugs, and such other benefits as shall be determined by the SECRETARY whether—(read this carefully), whether self-funded or delivered through the purchase of insurance or otherwise.’

In other words, as I see it, that means even if I have the funds to pay for a high-dollar operation or procedure, unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services approves, I cannot get it.

Read it. Tell me if I’m wrong. I hope I am, but I don’t think so. It appears to me, the older folks are bearing the brunt of this savage attack on our welfare. Of course, you are well aware the Obama administration had suggested taking 500 billion from Medicare to help pay for this all-encompassing health bill. With that much ripped from Medicare, I can only imagine what benefits will necessarily not be available any longer. How about you?

A friend of mine mentioned a movie from years back with Edward G. Robinson, ‘Soylent Green.’ Soylent Green was the food the government of the future provided for the population. In the movie, the government runs your life to the point of telling you when it’s time to die. The death is peaceful and serene, and then the body was dumped at a processing plant that produced—what else? You guessed it, Soylent Green.

Now, I’m not suggesting anything like that, but this section of the bill will dictate procedures you, depending upon your age, will be eligible to receive—or not.

On page 72, a government Health Exchange is being set up to establish standards for all insurance companies offering health benefit plans through the Health Insurance Exchange. In effect, the government is bringing private health care plans under its control. It mandates—as in NO CHOICE- mandates ALL benefit levels for all plans. It other words, they are telling us what we can get in our healthcare plans even if you buy from a private company.

During World War II, we were told what we could buy and could not buy. That was called ‘rationing’, a word that has been popping up more and more frequently in regard to this bill.

On page 91, lines 4-7, the bill states that each insurance company will provide for culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services. That means only one thing to me--this plan is designed to cover the twelve million (who knows how many?) illegals still in our country.
Sure, there are many folks without health care, but illegals, using the gov’t’s own figures, make up twenty-five percent of that number, while the shiftless, the potheads, the indifferent, the cheats, the-get-something-for-nothings also make up a large part.

How many of us had the initial impression that this bill would treat everyone the same, benefits, etc…? Guess again. There are five different levels of participation in regard to cost-sharing. Uh, oh! Cost Sharing? Horrors! You mean we’re going to have to fork over cash?

You got it. Five different levels with five different cost-sharing provisions. You have more money, you buy a better plan.
Strange, that seems like what we’re doing now.

They even tell doctors what they can and cannot charge by relegating them to ‘preferred’ and ‘non-preferred’ status.

Welcome to the future.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

obama's health care bill

Trust Me, I’m from the Government

Hey, believe it or not, Obama’s administration has real plans to give the elderly a helping hand in monitoring their health and welfare.

That’s the truth. One thousand and eighteen pages of help—at least the way they interpret health.

So, if you have family beyond or even approaching the age of Social Security, let them know the president is offering them assistance as they travel along the long road of life.

Yep, not only will the health Care Bill restructure health insurance into a drastically different process, they will also insist, as in MANDATE, senior citizens undergo Advance Care Planning Consultations. In other words, they will help every American over a certain age make plans for dying.
Hey, not only are those good old fellas going to do that, they will also MANDATE instruction and consultation regarding living wills and durable powers of attorney.

Wow! Isn’t that real humanitarian of them? Compassion drawn straight from Biblical teachings.

So now you forty- and fifty–year-olds with aging parents can breathe a sigh of relief. President Obama and his cohorts are planning your parents’ future. This includes an explanation by the practitioner (the doctor they choose for you) of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice as well as benefits for such services and supports that are available.

The only ones besides Democrats (and not all of them) who will benefit from this bill are the deadbeats and illegal aliens. In the past, I’ve seen Congress turn out such shabby legislation for which not even pre-schoolers would claim authorship. This one is the worst ever.
Now before you brush this off as sour grapes or the rantings of a sorehead, read what The Wallstreet Journal had to say about this Health Care Bill.

“When Mr. Obama says ‘If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what,’ he’s wrong. Period. What he’s not telling the American people is that the government will so dramatically change the rules of the insurance market that employers will find it impossible to maintain their current coverage, and many will drop it altogether. The more we inspect the House bill, the more it looks to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever introduced in Congress.”

And dear reader, keep in mind Obama had not read the bill when he made the previous remarks.

What else is it the bill?

Well, thanks to Peter Fleckstein who waded through the monstrous bill and twittered his findings, we can see the chilling intent of the government.

On page 22 of the bill, the law MANDATES that the government will audit books of all employers that self-insure. (can’t have anyone competing against the government)

On page 29, it tells us our healthcare WILL BE RATIONED. Typical of this administration, no details are provided.

On page 30, Section 123, it states ‘there will be a government committee that decides what treatments and/or benefits you get. (a committee yet)
Twelve pages later, we’re informed the Health Choices Commissioner will choose your health care benefits for you. You will have no choice.

If you can’t read between the lines here, it is saying the older you are, the fewer choices you’ll have.

I hope some of you choke on this next one. On page 50, health care will be provided all non-U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise.

On page 58, we’re told the government will have real-time access to individual finance information, and a national ID healthcare will be issued.

And there’s more, much more, 960 pages more.

This is all spelled out in Peter Fleckman’s twitter online and in the bill. It’s a chore to read, but this is one chore you should undertake before it’s too late.