Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Turn Up The Volume - 11/27/08

There exists certain music that as soon as I hear the opening riff I immediately, and involuntarily, reach for the volume control of whatever device I am listening to, and crank it up. This compilation is certainly not comprehensive, just the first tunes that came to mind. Sorry, but I was totally unable to limit this list to thirteen. Those of you that are fans of classic rock will understand why. I did keep it down to 125 though. They are in no particular order. The entire list is available here for your listening pleasure. Turn it up and enjoy. I invite reader comments and suggestions of songs I might have overlooked. You can hear the songs here.

1• Bad To The Bone — George Thorogood
2• Badge — Cream
3• Funk #49 — James Gang
4• All Right Now — Free
5• Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd
6• Whole Lotta Love — Led Zeppelin
7• Smoke on the Water — Deep Purple
8• Foxy Lady — Jimi Hendrix
9• Won't Get Fooled Again — Who
10• Paranoid — Black Sabbath
11• Money For Nothing — Dire Straits
12• satisfaction — stones
13• Born To Be Wild — Steppenwolf
14• Strange Brew — Cream
15• Brown Sugar — Rolling Stones
16• Money — Pink Floyd
17• All Day and All of the Night — Kinks
18• Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting — Elton John
19• fire — jimmy hendrix
20• Rock & Roll Fantasy — Bad Company
21• Centerfold — J. Geils Band
22• We're An American Band — Grand Funk Railroad
23• Frankenstein — Edgar Winter
24• Life In The Fast Lane — The Eagles
25• Running With the Devil — Van Halen
26• Born On The Bayou — Creedence Clearwater Revival
27• Crossroads — Cream
28• Honky Tonk Woman — Rolling Stones
29• Sunshine Of Your Love — Cream
30• Shine — Collective Soul
31• Purple Haze — Jimi Hendrix
32• I Want You To Want Me — Cheap Trick
33• Radar Love — Golden Earring
34• Just What I Needed — Cars
35• No Matter What — Badfinger
36• Sharp Dressed Man — ZZ Top
37• Can't Get Enough — Bad Company
38• Pride And Joy — Stevie Ray Vaughan
39• Pinball Wizard — The Who
40• Free Ride — The Edgar Winter Group
41• Eruption — Van Halen
42• Taking Care Of Business — BTO
43• Hotel California — Eagles
44• Bat Out Of Hell — Meatloaf
45• White Room — Cream
46• Revolution — The Beatles
47• La Grange — ZZ Top
48• Cinnamon Girl — Neil Young
49• Long Train Running — Doobie Brothers
50• China Grove — The Doobie Brothers
51• I Love Rock & Roll — Joan Jett
52• Sweet Child O' Mine — Guns N' Roses
53• Smells Like Teen Spirit — Nirvana
54• Paint It, Black — Rolling Stones
55• Back In Black — AC, DC
56• Johnny B. Good — Chuck Berry
57• You Really Got Me — Kinks
58• Pretty Woman — Roy Orbison
59• Bad Moon Rising — Ccr
60• Ramblin' Man — Allman Brothers
61• maryjane's last dance — tom petty
62• (Don`t Fear) the Reaper — Blue Oyster Cult
63• Stay or Should I go — Clash
64• Crazy On You — Heart
65• Black Magic Woman — Santana
66• School's Out — Alice Cooper
67• Walk This Way — Aerosmith
68• Day Tripper — The Beatles
69• My Generation — The Who
70• Wild Thing — The Troggs
71• You Shook Me All Night Long — AC
72• Enter Sandman — Metallica
73• More Than A Feeling — Boston
74• Blitzkrieg Bop — The Ramones
75• Bo Diddley — Bo Diddley
76• Not Fade Away — Buddy Holly
77• Reeling In The Years — Steely Dan
78• While My Guitar Gently Weeps — The Beatles
79• Surrender — Cheap Trick
80• 012 - The Who - Baba O'Riley — The Who
81• No Time — The Guess Who
82• Voodoo Child — Jimi Hendrix
83• Heartbreaker — Led Zeppelin
84• Roadhouse Blues — Doors
85• Kashmir — Led Zeppelin
86• Up Around The Bend — Creedence Clearwater Revival
87• "Born To Run" — Bruce Springsteen
88• Taxman — Beatles
89• Highway To Hell — AC, DC
90• Rock And Roll — Led Zeppelin
91• Cocaine — Eric Clapton
93• Barracuda — Heart
94• Dream On — Aerosmith
95• Locomotive Breath — Jethro Tull
96• Magic Carpet Ride — Steppenwolf
97• Free Bird — Lynyrd Skynyrd
98• Tom Sawyer — Rush
99• The Chain — Fleetwood Mac
100• Breakdown — Tom Petty
101• For What It's Worth — Buffalo Springfield
102• Gimme Shelter — Rolling Stones
103• I Feel Fine — Beatles
104• Fortunate Son — Ccr
105• Feel Like Making Love — Bad Company
106• Over The Hills & Far Away — Led Zeppelin
107• The Logical Song — Supertramp
108• Do It Again — Steely Dan
109• Already Gone — The Eagles
110• Life's Been Good — Joe Walsh
111• Refugee — Tom Petty
112• Ramble On — Led Zeppelin
113• I'd Love To Change The World — Ten Years After
114• You Can't Always Get What you Want — Rolling Stones
115• Love Me Two Times — Doors
116• L.A. Woman — Doors
117• Layla — Derek & Dominos
118• Iron Man — Black Sabbath
119• Jumping Jack Flash — Rolling Stones
120• Light My Fire - Doors
121• Hold Your Head Up - Argent
122• Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochrane
123• Get It On - TRex
124• Crazy Train - Ozzie
125• Unchained - Van Halen
126• Space Truckin' - Deep Purple

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Grateful" - 11/23/08

It is fitting that this week’s prompt should be “grateful”. The timing is amazing and there is only one way I can go with this.

A few days ago, I responded to a good friend of mine, Raymond Pert (pseudonym), who had written a blog about the Grateful Dead. You can see it here RP . My comment was: Q: “What did the Deadhead say when he ran out of drugs? A: “This Music Sucks”. This joke led to a short email discussion about the Grateful Dead. RP, like millions of others, hold this music in high esteem.

Though we are roughly the same age, from the same background, we have very different takes on this music. RP appreciates it and has enjoyed attending concerts. I attended one concert and have never been so bored. I would have rather attended a three hour life insurance seminar. In three hours, I think they played two songs. At least I thought there was a short break where the tempo changed slightly, and Jerry Garcia went to a different chord. I missed the first half hour because I thought they were tuning up. I did not realize that was a song. But, the faithful were mesmerized by this music, little better than your neighborhood garage band produces. Their music is benign enough, just not memorable. You are listening to it now. Can you imagine three hours of this? This song reminds me of cranking an old-time jackinthebox.

Plink, plink, plink. But it won't pop. It just goes on and on. If the drying of paint were to make a sound, this would surely be it.

I swear that the great unwashed that I was forced to rub shoulders with were
the same demographic that go to every NASCAR race and camp out in the infield.

The major difference is the Dead crowd ingests massive amounts of chemicals and herbs, while the NASCAR fan uses beer and Jack Daniels to make these events tolerable.

It has been about thirty years, and I think I finally feel safe taking a drug test. I have nearly gotten the stench of patchouli out of my pores. Three hours of dodging vomit and my Grateful Dead concert experience was gratefully over.

I love music and have very eclectic tastes (as you can see by my song list). But I tend to be drawn to lyric, melody, and killer guitar rifts. Hypnotic repetition has never attracted me. I realize the Grateful Dead had, and continue to have, millions of disciples. Curiously, these fans didn’t buy their records. Their number one album: Skeletons in the Closet: The Best of the Grateful Dead took six years to go gold. Fans must have been spending their money on hallucinogens. Maybe it is the cheery album covers that limit sales.

My friend, RP, enjoys their music without the help of chemicals. God Bless Him. If you are a Grateful Dead fan, there is no way you can defend the music to me, nor should you need to. We all like what we like. I am just providing one man’s opinion. Hey, I like Eminem. But I would not attend one of his concerts either. Someone might bust a cap.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shampoo For Dummies - 11/19/08

I had to buy shampoo today. I had run out of all the little bottles that I had stolen off of various hotel housekeeping carts through the years. Shopping for shampoo at Wal-Mart made me think about my youth.

When I was a kid, whether a person had silky smooth hair, nappy hair, or hair the texture of broom straw, there were essentially two shampoo choices. There was Prell, the most advertised product. The major selling point for Prell was that if you dropped a pearl into it, the pearl would slowly float to the bottom. This test proved how rich, thick and luxurious this shampoo was. Therefore, it would do wonders for your hair. Since pearls are not indigenous to Northern Idaho, I had to take their word for it. Using that theory, Guinness Stout, Quaker State Motor Oil, or Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup would be excellent hair products. I expect that Prell was in ninety percent of the bathrooms in America. There were other brands, but they didn’t really compete. Alberto VO5 sounded like a brand of alcoholic beverage. White Rain had perverse sexual connotations.

The other popular product was Head and Shoulders. It was not so much popular, as people bought it out of fear and shame. The advertising for it was some poor schmuck on a date and his shoulders were covered with flakes of dead skin. The commercial treated dandruff with the same disdain as head lice. Suddenly people were inspecting each other like monkeys nit-picking in a zoo. As a teenager, it was as embarrassing to buy Head and Shoulders Shampoo as it was to purchase feminine products for one’s mother. Through Head and Shoulders has since become more mainstream and has worked hard to eliminate the negative connotations. It has thrived.

In the past few years I had purchased my shampoo at Costco, where they only have a couple of choices. Well, that is kind of a lie. I think there was one purchase several years ago. When you purchase a 55 gallon drum of shampoo at Costco, it lasts quite some time. I recently bought dryer sheets there and if I do the math I am certain there will be dryer sheets in my estate. It is a bit sad when your goal in life is to outlive your Bounce.

Venturing into the Health and Beauty area of Wal-Mart was overwhelming. There were two complete aisles of shampoos and conditioners. I had used Pantene Pro-V before (even though it sounds like a brand of golf ball), so I thought I would pick up a bottle of it. Not easily done. There was nearly half an aisle of Pantene. Volume, texture, extra body, shine, full and thick, frizzy and unmanageable, moisturizing, shiny, silky, smooth, color revitalizing……………..and normal. So, what is normal? Do I have normal hair? Compared to what? And where was the Prell? There was no Prell. I don’t even know if they still make it. And when did Australia become the center of the hair care world? Half an aisle is devoted to that distant island continent.

In spite of the multitude of products available at Wal-mart, the woman who cuts my hair claims they all have the same ingredients as bathroom floor cleaner and if I use any of them my hair will fall out like a chemo patient. She recommends a product (which coincidentally she sells) that guarantees to make my hair rich, thick and luxurious (flashback to Prell). Her product also is sold by the gram, like gold. Apparently, if your shampoo is not developed by a gay man in Beverly Hills, it is crap.

Well, I selected the Pantene for normal hair. I figured that it was the most middle of the road choice, like medium salsa. I took it to the checkout and the woman who rang it up looked at the label and casually glanced up at my hair. The subtle roll of her eyes told me I had chosen the wrong product. I knew it! I should have gone with the unmanageable. At least she didn’t look at my shoulders.

Incidentally, I hate shopping at Wal-Mart, but I had to buy fishing worms anyway. An Wal-mart is a great source of worms.

Wordless Wednesday - "Product Name Is Everything" - 11/19/08

Do you think anyone has ever ordered that? Please be more specific about the brown sauce. I have always been told to avoid the odd tasting chicken.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Writer's Island "Embarrassing Predicament" & Sunday Scribblings "Stranger" - 11/16/08

This weeks prompt of “Embarrassing Predicament” from Writer’s Island and “Stranger” from Sunday Scribblings lend themselves to this story. My kids have been encouraging me to write about this event, not one of my finest moments. First, a bit of background.

I retired from the Air Force in 1992 and for some reason, still unknown to me, moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. I went to work for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as the sole Wyoming field rep. My job in a nutshell was to sit in bars and listen to music, writing down what I heard. You see, to play music in public you are required to have a license which pays the creators of that music royalties. My job was to build a case against those that refused to purchase a license. Some called me the music police.

I received a pretty good salary and a company car. Pretty good gig. Except for one thing, Wyoming is freaking huge and traversing it winter is nearly impossible. For those not familiar, Cheyenne is almost not even in Wyoming. It is on the extreme southeastern border. The drives to Mammoth, which is almost not even in Wyoming on the extreme Northwestern border or Evanston, which is almost not even in Wyoming to the Southwest, are grueling. So I decided to move to the exact center of the state. It didn’t exactly take Euclid to find the center, since Wyoming is almost a perfect rectangle. This task would have been much more difficult had I been somewhere like Michigan.

The exact center of Wyoming is in the middle of nowhere (as most of Wyoming is) on Highway 20, near the town of Powder River, with a population of 51. So I selected the closest town with streetlights and a gas station. I moved to Riverton, Wyoming in 1994. Riverton is a nice town of a little under 10,000, with a great golf course (very important to me).

As Wyoming cities go, it is a virtual megalopolis, 9th largest in the state. Some of you who live in more populous areas are now gasping at this amazing fact. You are also wondering where this embarrassing predicament with a stranger occurs. OK, here it is.

Riverton sets smack dab inside the Wind River Reservation. This huge piece of wasteland is shared by two tribes, the Arapaho and the Shoshoni. I knew nothing of Native Americans (though I have some blood) other than what I had seen in old westerns. I have since found out that those accounts were somewhat slanted. I had heard about a lot of crime on the reservation, but most of it is between the two competing tribes. A bit like the Crips and the Bloods or the Hatfields and McCoys. They don’t necessarily love each other. But, though I am a white eye, I was still a bit wary of being a stranger.

Late one night, I was leaving the IGA grocery store, walking to my Ford Taurus POS company car. Two young Native American men cut me off from my car. That part of the parking lot was nearly empty. They were saying something to me, but Native American’s are very soft-spoken and speak almost under their breath. They also have a strong accent and dialect that I became familiar with later. I could not understand them but I knew one thing for sure. I had only been in town for a week or so and I was being robbed. I had a bag of groceries cradled in one arm and a gallon of milk hanging from the other. My survival instincts took over. I was not going to be a victim. In a surprise attack, I swung the gallon of milk upward as hard as I could against the jaw of one of my assailants. He went airborne over the hood of my car. The plastic jug exploded, showering the crime scene and me with milk. The other thug ran away before I could select something in my grocery bag to hit him with.

Almost immediately a police car arrived with blue lights blazing. The city cop asked me what happened and I proudly told him my heroic story. He started laughing, which I thought odd. He said, "You ain't from around here are ya? They weren't robbers, they were beggars. They wanted your change." I tried to explain and he waved me off. He said, "I will take care of them, just don't be clobbering our citizens with 2%." Luckily, the unconscious Arapaho draped across my car was not seriously injured. I was really sorry about what happened. I could have just said no. I am sure those two guys were not expecting my reaction to "spare change?" Put yourself in their moccasins. You ask a stranger for some change and WHAM, he initiates a homogenized attack on you. I left some money with the cop to give them. Not really, but, in hindsight, I wish I would have. It would just make me sound like less of a jerk.

I went back into the store to get a fresh jug of milk and a paper towel. The night manager met me with one of each. He said it was on the house because watching that episode was worth it. He had called the police to get rid of the beggars, who were bothering customers. He hadn't expected a vigilante would show up. For the rest of my six years in Riverton, every time I saw that particular police officer or any of the IGA night crew, I was referred to as the milkman. Coincidentally, I was never approached by panhandlers again.

People that know me know that I am a charitable person and not prone to attacks on Shriners, the homeless, or Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

55 Flash Fiction Friday - "Lost Time" - 11/14/08

I hadn't participated in 55 Flash Fiction Friday for quite a while. I decided this week I would try something a little different to inspire me. I wrote the 55 and then made an audio/video of it. This is my first attempt at such a thing. I hope you like it. Please excuse my raspy voice.

Lost Time

Never been in this kind of place
Worst task a dad can face
“Is this your son?” unzipping the bag
Name already on the tag
“We found a note, it wasn’t much
There with all the drugs and such”
His son’s own hand, his heart it tore
“Dear dad, I wish we’d gone fishing more”

Thursday Thirteen - Things we have in the South that you don't in the North - 11/13/08

These are the first 13 things that came to mind that we have in the South but you don't in the North.

1. Sweet Tea (You might have it in the north, but yours sucks)

2. Southern Rock (You get it second hand)

3. Disney World

4. Palm Trees

5. Alligators (not in a zoo, on the freaking golf course)

6. 20% Illiteracy rate and climbing (see 10, 12, 13)

7. Grits

8. Waffle House (slowly moving North)

9. Carolina Rooms (you may have a sunroom but not an official Carolina room. Oh yeah, we also have the sun)

10. The KKK and overt racism (I know you have skinheads and such but no robes and hoods)

11. December golf in shorts

12. Boys named Billy Joe Jim Bob but go by Bubba and marry their cousins (who work at the Waffle House)

13. Real NASCAR fans

How To Train a Dog Volume 1 - Showing Who is the Boss - 11/13/08

I hope this has helped you all. Volume 2 coming soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Sign of the times - 11/12/08

A fried chicken place goes under in Myrtle Beach. What is next, a fireworks stand?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day - 11/11/08

Today I received an email from a life-long friend, Bill Woolum, expressing his gratitude for my military service. I appreciate the sentiment but I have to confess to being a fraud. I have accepted praise for my military career many times. I have stood proudly when introduced as a veteran. Though I am a patriotic American, my love of country is not why I served for 20 years. My motives were not pure public spirit.
In late 1971, after one year at the University of Idaho, trying unsuccessfully to balance class attendance and baseball, with partying, coed coexistence and experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs, I received a letter from President Nixon. For those of you from other countries or not old enough to remember the Selective Service System, the letter began with “Greetings, you have been selected……… I had lost my educational draft deferment when I dropped out of college. As an 18 year old, I became prime fodder for Vietnam. A lot of guys were coming back from South East Asia with fewer parts physically and mentally than they left home with. Everyone I spoke with recommended I join the Air Force as they sent their officers off to die as opposed to ground forces like the Army and Marines. So you see, I intended to join the Air Force to avoid going to war. So don’t hold a parade for me yet.

I went to the Air Force recruiter and told him I wanted in. He gave me a series of tests, which I maxed out. Before you think that is an achievement, please realize these are military tests. I suspect anyone without severe dain bramage would do well on them. As a result of my high scores I had my choice of any career field I chose to enter. They showed me lots of movies of all the technical shit the Air Force was responsible for. One film caught my attention right away. It showed technicians working on missiles. I had visions of working at NASA or one of the Air Force’s missile centers like Vandenberg AFB California or Houston Space Center. What I didn’t know is that there were many kinds of missiles that were not depicted in the film and recruits are randomly selected for a particular missile system. Since we were knee deep in a war, which type of missile tech do you think were in the most demand? Right. I trained to work on missiles that hung on the wings of fighter planes to shoot at other fighter planes and tanks and such. My job was primarily to make them pretty before they were fired at the enemy. When I became really good at cleaning and painting missiles, I was sent to the Philippines, where I deployed with aircraft to Thailand, because the Philippines is too far away from Vietnam to put me in harms way. Lucky for me that we surrendered before I was too involved. I participated in the evacuation of Vietnam, but that is the subject for another blog.
When my enlistment was up, the Air Force offered me a bunch of money to reenlist. It seemed like a bunch of money then. It was about $10,000. But I was a 22 year old with a wife and two kids and no job skills other than maintaining missiles. Not very marketable. Plus the Air Force provided housing, full medical for my family, and even a family allowance. There is no way in hell I could get out. So I stayed 20 years. I never fired a shot in anger nor had any fired at me. There are many American military heroes that deserve remembrance today. I think of Patrick Tillman, who gave up an NFL career to die for his country.

I think of the men and women who are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places you don’t know about, serving their country. They are the true heroes. I served, and served proudly, but I am not in their league. For me it was a way to support my family.

I want to give a special thanks to the World War II veterans. There aren't many of them left. I am most grateful to them that I am not writing in German or Japanese right now as those are hard fucking languages. Thank you for saving us.

The veterans of all the bullshit wars since then deserve to be honored too. A soldier follows orders and does his job. It is never his fault what kind of peril politicians put him in. I celebrate Veteran's day every day. Any time I see a serviceman or woman in uniform, I thank them. You should too. Unless you are from France.

I felt gratitude when Bill emailed me, but also a little bit guilty. I had to set the record straight.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Change" - 11/9/08

The predictable prompt of “change” will result in many equally predictable postings about how “now things will change.” I am 56 years old and every election in my memory has been the exact same. Every candidate campaigns on the promise of change. I have never experienced this change. Washington is pretty much business as usual regardless of who is in office. The talking heads are interchangeable, the message is the same. The only difference this time is that this candidate was black, so people came out of the woodwork who had never voted before. Never had an interest in their country or their government. They had no idea what they were voting for except what the mainstream liberal media and Hollywood told them. Well, don’t hold your breath for change. And that is ok as far as I am concerned.

I have spent my entire life on the bottom end of the economic food chain. That was totally my doing for my adult life, as I have always lacked the ambition to be a major earner. But living in America, that option was always open to me. No matter which administration is in charge, everyone has the opportunity to reach for the golden ring, or the golden parachute as it were. So you would think I would be all for the change that is promised. High achievers and hard workers will be asked to foot the bill for skaters like me. The promise of something for nothing got all the ne'er do wells to the polls quicker than a shipment of government cheese. I don’t believe it is the government’s responsibility to take care of us. I want them to keep the potholes in the highway patched and protect me from enemies foreign and domestic. Other than that, just leave me alone.

As soon as this inexperienced senator gets clearance to read intel and attend military briefings, he will realize his promise of immediately pulling out of Iraq is a pipedream. We have never pulled out of Germany, Japan, or Korea. We have a military presence in countries he cannot find on the map and has no idea we are involved, nor does the American public. Nor should they. If we know, so do our enemies. I am not saying it is right or wrong as I do not know enough to make a decision and neither do you. That is why we elect leaders and promote generals. He has a lot to learn about our foreign policy and defense of the US and its allies. He may have to make unpopular decisions. I am just saying not to expect immediate change in this arena.

I agree that Bush has not been a good president, but has any president since Lincoln had a tougher presidency? Starting with 9/11, it has been rough. I am not sure any president would have come through all of that with much of an approval rating. Well, maybe Reagan. But lets be honest, our stupid two party system didn't give us much to pick from. Two dunderheads, Al (I invented the INTERNET) Gore and Scary Kerry. And let’s remember one thing, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing crisis that has steamrolled our financial structure was caused by Bill Clinton. His liberal opinion was that all Americans should be able to own their own home, regardless of ability to pay for it. This has proved to be stinkin’ thinkin’.
In 1995, Freddie Mac began receiving affordable housing credit for buying subprime securities.
In 1999, Fannie Mae came under pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers. At the same time, institutions in the primary mortgage market pressed Fannie Mae to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to subprime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans. Shareholders also pressured Fannie Mae to maintain its record profits
In 1999, The New York Times reported that with the corporation's move towards the subprime market "Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

The fact is I, too, want change. But only small change. I have a pretty good life now on the lower end of the economic food chain. I will support the new president as he was elected by the vote of the people, and I totally believe in that system. Though, in the future, I would like to restrict voting to people that are actually alive at the time they vote.

I even supported Jimmy Carter. I was in the military during his presidency and he was my Commander in Chief and I respected him as such, no matter how incompetent he proved to be. Do you remember the 18% interest rates? So, I am adopting a wait and see attitude about the president-elect. I hope he proves me wrong, does a great job, and America flourishes, but I am not willing to call him the second coming as many of you are.

I think his first task should be to learn proper respect for our flag. Particularly when he will be in command of those that lay their life on the line to protect it.

I read a comment by a woman who said that after the election she is finally “proud to be an American once again.” If you let a politician, any politician, affect the pride you have in your country in any way, you are a sad excuse for an American. My pride in my country will not waver, ever. Even if we become a socialist state.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted - 11/4/08

I just returned from voting. I always get a good feeling from exercising my right to participate in the governing of my country. Every time I walk through the VA hospital, it renews my belief that, for me, voting is not just a right, but a responsibility. Many have died or lost body parts protecting the freedoms that we often take for granted. The least I can do is take an hour or so to honor their sacrifice.

I know our system is flawed. It is disappointing to me that the two party system seldom offers me a candidate that I can get behind and I usually end up not voting for someone, rather against the John Kerry's of the world. That is definitely the case today. Neither party has provided a person that gives America much hope of solving any of our many problems. Actually, I don't believe any president can have much affect. But I will continue to vote anyway.

I met a woman in line that is voting for the first time in her life at 48 years old. Listening to her talk convinced me that she is voting because her television told her to. It probably even told her who to vote for. I also saw several homeless people herded in to vote. Because they had no residence and probably no identification, they had to cast a paper ballot. I am certain the election will be settled long before these manual votes are tallied. Chic-fil-A was giving free sandwiches to all voters and a local church was giving donuts and coffee, so it was a good day for the homeless and me. Those perks were in addition to whatever the party that collected the strays offered them to cast a ballot as instructed.

The beauty of the one person, one vote, system is that whether a homeless person or a billionaire, for the few minutes it takes to vote, all are equal. I take great pleasure in knowing that my vote canceled out Oprahs.