Sunday, January 10, 2010

WRITE IT DOWN: Nah, I'll remember!

The elderly lady turned to her loving husband, as she watched TV, and declared that "she was hungry". Always eager to be of service, as all husbands around the world are, he asked his bride of many years for what she was hungry.

She decided she wanted some ice cream. She also decided that she wanted the vanilla, not the chocolate or strawberry. She told her husband, telling him also to WRITE IT DOWN so he wouldn't forget.

Confidently, the husband declared he wouldn't forget but the wife insisted that he write it down because he would forget. NAH, I'LL REMEMBER! He headed for the kitchen.

He was gone, and gone, and gone and gone. After a very long time he returned. He returned with a plate of SCRAMBLED EGGS, SAUSAGE & TOAST. Indignantly, the wife said in a loud voice, I told you to write it down, I knew you'd forget.

In a voice saddened by many years of forgetfulness, the husband inquired "What did I forget now". In a superior voice the wife declared, I TOLD YOU I WANTED BACON, NOT SAUSAGE.

Good old Ben Franklin declared in his Poore Richard's Almanac that The Weakest ink was stronger than the strongest memory. Old Ben was a wise man.

Yesterday evening Julie and I had still another holiday dinner. It was a gala affair. The table was set with care, full of color and the reflection of silver and crystal with candles burning brightly throughout.

As is ever the case, all the girls were good and got presents and all the guys, the writer excepted of course, were bad and got lumps of coal.

We had eight guests and set a gala table for ten. Yes, it was crowded. Usually for 10 we would sit six in the dining room and four in the kitchen. But, it was a family affair, with the Ludwig's included, and I wanted everyone together. Sometimes, being a bit crowded adds to the fun, huh?

A recent blog of mine came up in conversation. Gleefully, the kids told Julie and I that we had been married for THIRTY years, not TWENTY NINE as I had written in a recent blog. Lots of bawdy comments were made and everyone had a good laugh. It appeared the joke was on the hosts.

I explained that it could not be the our 30th because for our 30th I was taking Julie on a Med Cruise to Italy and Greece. Chuckling, Mark asked "have you bought the tickets yet?"

It was a delightful evening, entertained by two precious children and a new Havanese puppy, who slept soundly on Mary Kay's lap as Mark and Kimberly looked on.

When everyone was gone, Julie asked "Have we been married 30 years"? I forgot it but she did not. Again this evening she brought up the subject--I believe she was thinking of that warm, Med cruise to the land of her forefathers, Greece.

Quietly, I sneaked up to the office and got the marriage license out of the lock box. Although my memory was not a tower of strength, the ink had not weakened one iota. Clearly, in Rev. Browning's handwriting, was January 5, 1980. Uh, that's right, 1980--thirty years ago.


Lordy, Lordy! Wish I was Forty.

As strong as the ink will be my kid's memory. They will never forget, nor will they let me forget, this error. Me, Walt Pierce, paragon of strength and forebearance, meek, lowly and humble, sweet gentle and kind, I forgot my own wedding date.

As Grocho Marx used to say "HOW HUMILATING".

Can I get you some ice cream? "I'll write it down!

God Bless!

Friday, January 8, 2010

NOW I KNOW: Won't eat there again!

A SHORT BLOG! Yes, I really can write a SHORT blog.

Julie left work early today and we had a mid afternoon lunch. I suggested going to a new burger joint that opened in the area last summer. It was called FIVE GUYS. Julie said she heard it was expensive. As always, I said we should try it ourselves and make up our own mind.
Expensive is often relative and I wanted a burger, uh, a burger like the one pictured on the right. (I'm tired of left overs!)
We both had a cheeze burger and split fries. Julie had iced tea and I had a diet coke--both medium. (Free refills, why buy anything but the smallest?) They gave us a number and we had to wait. THE BILL, THE BETTER PART OF $17.00. Yes, $17.00!

We are Wendy people. For less than $7.00 we buy two baked potatoes, two double stacks, a small chili and a frosty. We get it to go as we have cases of soda at home. Even worse, for $11.00, including drinks, we could have had a first class meal at Chipotlies.
Like beauty, taste is in the eye, or in this case the mouth, of the beholder. On a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being the worse and 10 being the best, FIVE GUYS CHEESEBURGERS were maybe a 3, no more than that. Wendy's double stack, for $0.99 is a pretty good burger, maybe an 8.

We got a clue with all the signs in FIVE GUYS telling us how good it was. The sign was reinforced with the clerk's constant rave about the quality of their burgers.
NOW WE KNOW. As Julie said, we've seen our duty and we've done it. We sure won't do it again. Wise Woman.

God Bless!

SERVICE TO COUNTRY: Blog No. 2

AS I WRITE MY SECOND BLOG IN SERVICE TO MY COUNTRY IT IS SO HARD NOT TO WRITE ABOUT THE LATEST TERRORIST ATTACK AND OUR PRESIDENT'S WEAK, SAD & SORRY RESPONSE. This is personal, folks, I had family flying at that time.

Although the terrorist whose attempt to kill hundreds in a plane bombing was clearly associated with this terrorist leader in the USS Cole attack, the 9-11 attack and the more recent Fort Hood attack, the president's first response, as he continued his Hawaiian vacation mind you, was to try to tell us it was just an act of an individual.

THE ADVERSE PUBLIC REACTION FORCED A SECOND RESPONSE. But, even on his second response he couldn't attribute the act to terrorist war.

On the 4th day, IN RESPONSE TO OVERWHELMING PUBLIC NEGATIVE REACTION, he decided it was an act of terrorism.
In his second address, the president forcefully announced that whoever was responsible for allowing this act to take place with FULL ADVANCE WARNING would pay for letting the ball fall between chairs.
UH, THE TWO LEADERS MOST RESPONSIBLE ALSO CONTINUED THEIR OWN VACATIONS AS IF THE ACT WAS NOT IMPORTANT. Lets see, shall I keep to the ski trails or shall I find out how a terrorist came so close to killing my fellow countryman?

On his latest address, however, he is not interested in POINTING THE BLAME FINGER. ALTHOUGH NEARLY 300 HUNDRED PEOPLE NEARLY DIED, NO ONE WOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.

THE PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL DEFENSE LEADER IMMEDIATELY SAID THAT THE PRESIDENT'S DEFENSE SYSTEM WORKED. The public reaction cause an immediate change in that story.

PEOPLE - YOUR REACTION TO GOVERNMENT'S FAILURES IS POWERFUL. SPEAK UP! REACT! AND BY ALL MEANS PLAN TO VOTE AND ENCOURAGE YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO ALSO GET INVOLVED. YOU HAVE THE REAL POWER. USE IT!

But, I digress. I don't want to address day-to-day events, right? HMM

TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT ITEM IN AMERICAN'S LIVES, JOBS!
Would you please reread my December 7, 2008 blog FIGURES DON'T LIE BUT LIARS FIGURE?. Then the headlines all read "UNEMPLOYMENT EXPLODES". The national unemployement rate had only edged up slightly from 6.5% to 6.7%, a 50 year average.
Despite the assurance of presidential aspirant, Obama, that he would not allow national unemployment to exceed 8%, the national unemployment continues north of 10%. WHERE ARE THE HEADLINES NOW with 85 thousand losing their jobs in December?

FIGURES DON'T LIE BUT LIARS FIGURE AND THE MEDIA DECIDES HOW TO PAINT THE PICTURE. Look at these charts and express your own opinions to your family and friends. See where the unemployment was in November '08 when Obama took control.

Supposedly, in an attempt to turn around unemployment, Obama's adminstration, backed by a SINGLE PARTY CONGRESS, has taken over the banks and key American businesses and is in the process of taking over the nation's health insurance.

When government takes over business it is socialism. NOT TO MENTION WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE BUSINESSES THEY HAVE ALREADY TAKEN OVER. Can you say THE RAILROADS, MEDICARE, OR THE POST OFFICES.

There are problems with the nation's health care. My son, who has a blood problem, cannot buy insurance. My brother, who had great insurance, exceeded the limitations of his policy when he developed bone cancer. The bills he left his widow has destroyed her financially. BUT IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO PUT YOU, YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN into debt to correct these problems.
Simple Tort Reform and establishing interstate insurance laws would go a long ways towards correcting these problems. Don't expect that, though, from the gang of exlawers who are running congress.
EXCEPT FOR FOX, YOU DON'T HEAR MUCH ABOUT THIS DEFICIT CHART EITHER, THANKS FOX!

JOBS? Supposedly, the illegal aliens only do the work that Americans won't do. Just take a trip to the small manfacturing facilities in your neighborhood and see who is coming and going at shift change.
WHEN HAVE YOU LAST HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT ILLEGAL ALIENS? You won't because they represent future votes. BECAUSE OF THE MASS MIGRATION ON OUR SOUTHERN BORDER HISPANICS ARE WELL ON THEIR WAY TO BEING THE DOMINATE GROUP IN AMERICA. Look at this growth chart.

WHY THE LOSS IN BUYING POWER? CAN YOU SAY DEBT?
ON AND ON AND ON.......But this is just a blog. You get the drift, huh? Your reaction today is just as important as was the Americans who resisted the oppression of King George. DON'T JUST SIT THERE, DO SOMETHING, even if it is just to speak up.

God Bless US and God Bless the USA.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ONE OF 2010 EXCITING PLANS: Can You Say Shanty Boat?

BEAUTIFUL OHIO, IN DREAMS AGAIN I SEE, SWEET DREAMS OF WHAT USED TO BE. I was reared along side the Ohio River. I cannot recall at what age I started to play in this beautiful stream. That experience has influenced my entire life.

I was in the Sea Scouts. I joined the Navy at age 17. I was always going to the "Point" in Point Pleasant, WV where the Great Kanawha enters the Ohio and saying "some day I'll go down that river". Since my retirement I have, three times.

Harland Hubbard from Kentucky made a shanty boat trip down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers when I was a youngster. His book, "Shanty Boat, a River Way of Life" has and still inspires would be shanty boaters.
Although his book was a "page turner", I am not misled by his adventure. A shanty boat is not designed for making trips, although it is possible. I mostly plan to just enjoy being on the water in relative comfort and safety, transporting the boat to and from the rivers on a boat trailer which I own.
I like canoes. I made my first wilderness canoe expedition in 1963 and have no idea how many times I have gone to the end of roads in North America, pointed the canoe north and started to paddle.

Boats, boats and more boats. At the families lakeside retreat there is a canoe, a jon boat, a paddle boat and a sail boat. I am certainly not up to sailing anymore. It is tough getting into and out of a canoe, too. The jon boat is an old Ohio River Lock boat, probably 80-90 years old. It is in bad shape and needs to be made into firewood. The family still uses the paddle boat and canoe and they are in good shape. I plan to sell the sail boat this year, keeping the trailer.

When I was a child a Shanty Boat on the river was a common sight. They provided the poorest of the poor with a place to live with an at hand food source. Yes, fish, but also the first two rows of a farmer's corn, or what have you, was considered fair game for the shanty boater. No taxes or other financial demands were made upon these folks, and not much good was expected from them. Being called a "shanty boater" was not usually a compliment.

I am planning to have a shanty boat, actually a shanty river raft, built for me this upcoming year. Why a "raft" instead of a boat? Boats are complicated to build and they leak. Rafts are quite simple and they just "float".
I would love a few weeks on the Ohio River and maybe a month or so on a southern river during the winter time. Not going anywhere much, just being in a beautiful spot on the water, maybe the mouth of Old Town Creek where the flat headed catfish are plentiful and grow huge.

In1939 Sears put out the plans for a 8x12 River Raft with a 7x7 Shanty on it. That is just a wee bit small. Not much, but a little. I'd like an 8x16 River raft with a 7x11 Shanty. I have two sources of builders who will work reasonably. I have a lot of the materials and will start to accumulate the rest this week.

I have a wood/coal burning stove. I have a few nautical kerosene lamps but need more and will enjoy getting them. I already have about everything I need to furnish a small shanty for comfortable living for one, or two, for short periods. I understand the workings of the river, too.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW THE "REAL" ATTRACTION TO BEING A SHANTY BOATER? Check out this picture and use your imagination. HA HA. Un Huh. Click on the raft plans above and note the two lovely ladies skinny dipping. Yeah!





Then, too, I'll need to start accumulating food. What shall I have on my shanty boat? Something practical, huh?


























WILL THIS DREAM EVER COME TO PASS? Who knows? But ask yourself, "what NEW, DIFFERENT OR EXCITING do you have planned for 2010? Right now I can hardly walk, but that's right now. In the future I hope to hop, skip and dance again!

If it does get built I've known for years my next boat would be christened the DELANEY ROSE. Maybe just "Rosebud". The Shanty Boat ROSEBUD. Sounds great!




God Bless

SWEETER AS THE YEARS ROLL BY: Number 29!

Twenty-nine years ago Julie and I were married in a small United Methodist Church by the minister who had been Julie's pastor in her youth. It has been a great marriage full of challenges and battles won and lost.

When we were married but a few months we both lost our jobs in a plant closing. We did not hit the panic button, instead we bought a travel trailer and traveled the USA, Canada and Mexico.

Week by week, month by month we signed up for our unemployment from one state to another. It was, and still is, the only time since I was 17 that I was not gainfully employed. Not to worry, I had a position waiting for me as a Stock Broker with Merrell-Lynch at the end of the three months.

I think it would be good for most new marriages if the couples could enjoy a three month honeymoon having good times, free from stress. Well, our three month jaunt was not exactly a honey moon. We took our honeymoon in January. We also took my brother and sister-in-law on the honeymoon with us in our customized van touring Florida.

Uh, yes, unusual--but it was a great time, believe me. Fishing, picking green beans and tomatoes, going to Disney World, we did it all, right down to Key West. In this picture my new bride picked mangoes for the first time. Wasn't she a sweetie? She still is!

On our way home we would detour to Birmingham, Alabama to visit my other brother. In our first five years of marriage we would visit Disney Land/World five times.

We did, and still do, make our married life a day-by-day, year-by-year adventure. Yes, we're both a bit beat up physically but we can still "move" and we intend to keep the party going!

We have shared the the sadness of losing parents, all our siblings and one grandchild. We have shared the excitement of our children's marriages. We discovered the wonderful world of being grandparents, and great grandparents.

Prior to our marriage Julie and I acknowledged that we were two different people. While we had the same basic values, we each liked different things.

For example, Julie has many collections. One of her favorites is two spoon collections. Shown here is the collection of spoons from the countries she has visited around the world. She also has a domestic collection. I have no interest in spoons unless there is a dish of ice cream close by.

On-the-other-hand, Julie has no desire to cross the USA on a trike. We tolerate one anothers differences giving whatever support we can.

Of course there were many things we enjoyed doing together. We both love dressing up for a masquerade ball. We walked away with first prize in Toronto when we competed with some high priced outfits in a simple, homemade indian costume. We stayed in character and danced the "war dance" all night. Fun, Fun, Fun!

In Maui we enjoyed a Pirates Party. Does this picture of Julie and my son Mark look a bit out of focus? It's not. Julie just had a few too many MiTi's. HA

Julie enjoyed the ski slopes. Me? Why would I leave a good warm fireplace to slide down a slippery slope on a pair of barrel staves? It would take more than those two small sticks to keep me upright.

We both like to dance. Julie is the best partner I have ever danced with, and I've danced with more than a few, having taught dance classes. Here we are heading for a night of waltzing in Vienna, Austria.

We've cruised the Carribean. We've made several visits to Europe and, I think, four trips to Hawaii. We have spent the month of October in a penthouse suite in Myrtle Beafch for 18 years. Life is good! For our 30th, next year, the Good Lord willing and the Krick don't get too high, we plan to cruise the Med, visiting Italy and Greece.

I have now been retired for nearly 20 years and Julie for 20 years has enjoyed a key position with a firm she likes, doing a job she enjoys, most of the time. Julie could retire but plans to continue working. The health insurance she earns for us is quite valuable at our ages.



What does one do for a 29th anniversary? Julie took the day off and we slept in until 8:00AM. I fixed Julie's favorite breakfast, For dinner tonight we will go to our favorite Mexican Restraurant, Casa Del Rio. This is the nearest thing to being in Mexico, and we have been in Mexico. It was early and not crowded and we both order the same platter and have enough food for both of us for two days. We have a bottle of champaign that we didn't use to welcome in the New Year. We'll may crack that. No, not very exciting--but very comfortable. Anymore, we like comfortable.

God Bless

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: Service to Country

One of my few, maybe only, New Year's Resolution was to be of service to my country.

Do I plan to reup in the Navy? No, but I have thought about it! I ran into a Navy recruiter who was going to work early one morning and told him I'd changed my mind. Probably thinking this old man's probably nuts, and he may be right, he asked about what had I changed my mind.

I told the recruiter that fifty-some years ago the Navy asked me to reenlist saying they would promote me a grade, pay me a $600 reup bonus, give me 60 days leave and reassign me to my choice of ships. I said thanks but no thanks. I told the recruiter I'd changed my mind, could I still get the $600? He chuckled as he told me I'd waited too long.

So, no, I'm not planning to reup the Navy, they won't have me. I don't know why not. As can be seen here, I can still pick up the pretty girls.

To my way of thinking, our country is on a dangerous course far exceeding the danger of the Korean War in which I was involved. We are getting farther and farther away from our Constitution. I resolved that once a week this year I would use the power of this blog, to what extent that may be, to voice the reason for my concern.


This might be the place to say that I am not a Democrat. Neither am I a Republican. I am registered as an Independent. In the past I have voted both ways. Given a viable choice today, I would probably be a "Tea Party" person. Along with those folks, I think we need to throw out the rascals in both parties.

At the top of the list of rascals, to my way of thinking, is our President and Vice President. Had not John McCain refused to allow Sarah Palin to expose their past, choosing rather to just point out the difference in how the two contestants planned to lead the country, there is no way Obama would be president today.

Michelle Malkin, in her book Culture of Corruption, lists some of the FACTS that the country is prone to forget as they listen to the smooth delivery of false promises Obama makes over and over today.
Today, let us review one of the good Senator from Illinois's promises as he sought the office of President. THE PROMISE: I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.......they will not run my White House. So said Senator Obama in Des Moines, Iowa in November 2007.
THE FACTS: A year later, then President Obama, threw open his transition office and the Oval Office to the nation's leading lobbyists and influence peddlers.
* Tom Daschle was a lobbyist in everything but technical terms;
* Attorney General Eric Holder had been a registered as a lobbyist.
* Tom Vilsack, Obama's Agriculture Secretary, had been a registered lobbyist.
* Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to Biden, had been a registered lobbyist.
* Leon Panetta had been a lobbyist-lite, raking in hundred of thousand of dollars.
* Patrick Gaspard, Obama's Political director was a former chief lobbyist.
* David Hayes, deputy director of the Interior, was a lobbyist.
* William Corr, Obama's choice for Health and Human Services, was a lobbyist.
* Mark Patterson, was tapped for chief of staff of Treasury Secretary Geithner, had been a lobbyist.
You may remember the old TV detective story of a by gone days in which the good Sgt. Friday said "The Facts, Mam, Just the Facts". A fact, Sgt. Friday, BIRDS OF A FEATHER REALLY DO FLOCK TOGETHER!
My dear Mother's good advice comes to mind. Anyone who lies will cheat, anyone who will cheat will steal. Avoid liars, cheats and thieves. Good advice Mom.
In the next episode we'll write about President Obama's cabinet of tax cheats, crooks, and cronies.
God Bless Us and God Bless the USA

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: A First Blog Reflection On Christmas Events

Christmas 2009 is in the history books. It is but a memory. Most things were great, as they should be. The "Out With Friends" dinner group has had their first dinner of 2010.

It was a grand progressive dinner that started at 5PM and ended at midnight after one course each of a five course meal at five different homes of members. A sixth couple is already in Florida for the winter.

A drawing was had to decide which of six months each couple would determine where we would eat in 2010. Julie and I drew September. The Murphy's drew February and already have the restaurant picked out. The group also decided to do a Dinner-Dance Cruise on Lake Erie in August.

Among the many conversations of the season was my report on the wonderful Christian spirit shown in the giving of gifts to the less fortunate by Church Requel where my son Mark is the Senior Pastor.

Trying to answer questioning of the agressive growth of this new church, as compared to that of our own church, which was founded in 1877, the response was the same that I often receive when describing spending a month at the beach or a trip to Ireland: It Must Be Nice!

The response to Church Requel kicking off the start up of their new church with ten bill boards of advertising around the city, reinforced with radio, television and newspapers, was to question the source of the funding.

When told that among other sources was the fact that the pastor worked VERY HARD, along with his leaders, for nine months without pay while using their own personal funds, the attitude was That will never happen here!

Incidentally, Does Church Requel BEG for money? NO! The fact of the matter is the church does not even take up an offering!

It is with pure delight that I share with you pictures of Church Requel's Christmas Giving to the Less Fortunate. The church leaders use the first 10% of income to help those less fortunate.

When the call came for workers to distribute gifts Christmas Eve, from the 75 or so in attendance, 29 showed up to do the work. They divided into four groups to deliver their gifts to four families identified by the Salvation Army as being in dire need.









Two thousand dollars of food, clothing, toys and other needy items were given along with cheerful singing and well wishing. When the recipients looked out to see who was at their doors this Christmas Eve, they were thrilled to see a long line of "Santa's Helpers" laden down with all the Christmas Cheer they had painfully known their family would do without this bleak year.







One family didn't even have a table at which to eat. A kind Church Requel couple thoughtfully refinished their own spare table and chairs to make Christmas dinner a special blessing for this needy family.

"When you do to unto the least" scripture comes to mind as I reflect upon how God shall, or has, richly blessed this couple who gave so freely of what they had.

Along that same line of thought, some bright day, somewhere in the future, when Church Requel starts to receive the dividends on their current investments into charity towards all, when their attendance is numbered in the thousands, when not only is the senior pastor paid but also the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pastors, I can hear it now:

"IT MUST BE NICE" & "I WONDER HOW THEY GET THE MONEY"

Be nice, now Walt, be nice!

God Bless