Monday, November 30, 2009

It's a Jackson patio thing

Most of the friends Amanda grew up with remember hanging out on the Jackson patio. Over the years it has seen innumerable parties - birthdays, holidays, party days - and on Thanksgiving it was activated again. Carol and I have never really had family in town that we got together with on Thanksgiving but our house always seems full. This year we had our good neighbors the Murpheys, Pastor Bruce Johnson and wife Laurie with daughters Shelly and Megan. Our friend MaryEllen and her Mom Martha and our good friend Carol Reeve. Of course we had Amanda and Lance. It was great sharing Thanksgiving with such good friends. Then at night we were joined by a host of other friends that had enjoyed their own Thanksgiving meal and were joining us for dessert. Blake and Allison and Fischer came along with Charlie and Cynthia Bennett and their big guy Bryan. We had Joe and Terri White along with Brent and Dianne Robinson, Glenn and Jamie Suppanz with Glen's visiting brother Mark. All in all a good fun group of friends.
I'm blessed to be surrounded by people of musical talent. All of the Robinson's including Glenn. Of course Amanda sings like a dream and Lance is an excellent drummer and guitar player. Blake is very good and Brent wails on the harmonica. So before long the instruments came out and the patio was rocking. Just another sign that the world is passing me by - Blake had a cell phone that he looked up lyrics with. Here is a picture of Amanda and him singing the Johnny Cash - June Carter Cash hit "Jackson". Amanda is reading the words off this phone. Wow! Do I feel old fashioned. Then a pic of Brent wailing out on the harp accompanied by Lance on guitar. All we were missing was a Mother-Daughter duet by Dianne and Jamie. Maybe next time.

Man, this is what I call fun!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That noise you heard

That big crunching noise you heard this week is me falling with a resounding thud off my low carb diet. I'm a weak man, I admit it. Just the thought of it being Thanksgiving week made me overwhelmed with hunger. I actually had potatoes with my bacon and eggs. I put some marmalade on my toast. We went to lunch with our good friend Martha Wheeler who is visiting from Louisville Kentucky and we went to Olive Garden. Yep, spaghetti and meat sauce. Martha is a real treasure. 86 years old and sharp as a tack and going strong. She raised a large family and spends her year traveling and visiting. Wow, if only we could be so lucky.

Tina tells me that she's making updates to my website and soon I'll have two new painting up. The Sundown Corral is about 95% up, the remaining few chapters soon. Poor Jack, still yearning for the lovely Cassy and knowing he has to leave her behind.

I want you all to have a magnificent Thanksgiving. We truly are blessed that we have survived this year and the recession has bottomed out. Unemployment stills sucks but it appears the housing market may be coming back. But, we still have each other and for most of us, that is all we need.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Miss White Teen Arizona

Yesterday I opened the paper - yes, I am one of the few remaining Americans that actually reads a daily paper, and enjoys it - and I saw a large article in the local section about a Miss Black Teen Arizona pageant. Pictured were some very pretty young ladies so no big deal right?

Except just last weekend Carol and I went to the Miss Teen Arizona USA and Miss Arizona USA pageant to support the beautiful young daughter of a friend of ours and to see our good friend Britt Boyce in action. Britt is the Executive Director of the Arizona pageant and the Utah pageant. Great job Britt! Britt had an array of American beauties to choose from and while I didn't think about it at the time, there were many different ethnic persuasion's to choose from. White girls, Hispanic girls, Black girls. I do believe a lady of color was one of the winners.

The next two days after the contest I scoured the paper looking for a write up on Britt's pageant. I found nothing. A few days later I see the big write up on the Miss Black Arizona pageant which hasn't even taken place yet.

There is something wrong here. Can a white girl run for Miss Black Arizona? You can bet that if Britt held a Miss White Teen Arizona there would be hell to pay.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To mammogram or not to mammogram

The subject at breakfast with Carol this morning was a new federal study - The United States Preventive Task Force (USPTF) - that essentially said that they found it wasn't really necessary to have early mammograms starting at age 40. It went on to say that even after age 50 mammograms were necessary only every other year. The study sited that many mammograms generated false readings that led to patient anxiety and worry. It also stated that the false readings caused a high percentage of biopsies to come back negative, which made for unnecessary high medical bills and the aforementioned stress and anxiety. It also mentions how some biopsies actually caused disfigurement. The study also recommended against self examinations as it leads to more unnecessary biopsies, especially with women with denser breasts.

Now here is the kicker for me. It said only one life out of a thousand women is all that is actually saved by early detection as opposed to four hundred plus that suffer a false reading that leads to stress and anxiety and an ultimate clean bill of health.

So, the study says that the unwarranted worry and anxiety of four hundred plus women out of a thousand is worth one life. Huh?

I'm not a Doctor but I wonder at the logic of all this. Talk to your Doctor about this study but personally, as a husband and a father I want my girls to self exam and Carol to take regular mammograms. I'd rather be anxious and stressed than sorry.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Commercials - Don't you love'm

Advertising agencies must think we Americans are simple minded folk. I was watching TV the other day when I saw a commercial depicting a couple on a date and the poor guy had heartburn. Ruined the date. But, after a good dose of the miracle antacid the next thing you know they were walking down the aisle. So, I'm wondering, you think that guy would have taken the medicine if he'd known what the end result would be. Talk about a short engagement. And, what's up with the erectile dysfunction ads. Good Lord. First of all, like yeast infections it is something I don't really want to think about and besides if I had that condition for over four hours I'd be calling my buddies to brag.

Sometimes I'm dismayed by the lack of information some young people have unless they got it from the Internet. In other words no one under thirty watches the evening news the way I used to watch Cronkite. But, I understand why. The "major" news programs don't go after the youngsters. Watch and notice the ads that pay for the program. Every one of them is targeting seniors. No beer commercials, no i-pod or computer game commercials. Just how to color your hair to hide the gray. That and the aforementioned commercials. The other thing I can complain about is the volume of the commercials. I'll be watching a soft spoken CSI or something, hanging on every word then go to commercial and be blasted out of my chair by screaming high volume "buy me" stuff.

My wife hollers from the other room, "Turn that down! Are you deaf?"

Well yeah, maybe a little but it's not my fault, it's those danged commercials.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Did You See The Asassination On TV Last Night?

It's not often that you are watching live television and see an actual murder right before your eyes. That's the way it was last night while Carol and I were watching the Country Music Awards. That's when we witnessed an entire genre of music murdered in a hail of Taylor Swift awards. It might have lived if not for the last kill shot. She won for "Entertainer of the Year". In the catagory with such immensly talented people like singer, writer and great guitarist Brad Paisley, singer, writer and great guitarist Keith Urban, ledgendary talents Reba McIntire and George Strait. Entertainer of the Year mind you. The only problem with all this is she suffers from the Brittany Spears desease. She can't sing. She does write her own songs but you have to have the mentallity of a twelve year old to really enjoy them. I don't know who votes for these things but it must be the people that stare at the naked King and proclaim his new "garments" to be wonderful because everyone else is doing so.

Now, I know, you think I'm just being an old curmudeon. Not so. When LeeAnn Rimes debuted at age 15 I recognized a wonderful God given voice and was an immediate fan. Tanya Tucker was twelve when Delta Dawn became a hit. Really a great country voice. I'm not picking on poor little Taylor. I'm sure she is a wonderful girl and works very hard to please her handlers but........she can't sing. Not in the quality that deserves national attention.

Well there it is. Country music is officially dead. It was badly wounded when Kenny Chesney won Entertainer of the Year, but I hear some people are actually entertained by him. I'm entertained by the amazement I feel when I hear him and wonder what in the world people see in the guy.

I grew up listening to the rock station WLS out of Chicago but when I started learning to play the guitar I became a fan of country music. As a fan I would like to offer my deepest condolances to Brad and Keith and Reba and George. It must have been awful sitting there watching that little girl win and wondering - just what in the world do people want?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back from Oz

As Dorothy said to Toto, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." We went back to the mid-west - Illinois to be exact - and we sure weren't in Phoenix anymore.

The mid-west is a place of its own. Especially the small rural farm communities. The first thing you have to do is to slow your internal clock way down. Everything there works on a slower basis. Everyone talks slower, walks slower, thinks slower, drives slower (unless they are teenagers)and just plain live slower. And everyone is big. I mean big! We ate at the local restaurant almost everyday and I gained five pounds. There was no such thing on the menu as a low carb, low cal, low anything item. Cutting back to them is ordering half a horseshoe. What's a horseshoe? If you were from the mid-west you would know. It's your toast covered with potatoes and eggs and covered again with gravy. Yum!

Technology has passed the little town of Pana by. Not that the kids don't have i-pods and cellphones, but we have neighbors that live full time by our lake cabin that don't have Internet. Not just even Internet, they don't have computers and by God don't want to mess with such foolishness. Technology to them is a new Ford pick up.

Now don't get me wrong, I love going back to this place. It is quiet and refreshing and a good reminder of my upbringing. However, for all its good there are two troubling traits. First, everyone smokes. Illinois passed a no smoking law just like Phoenix but no one in Pana has heard about it. When we visit our neighbors we come back smelling like pack a day smokers ourselves. I guess it's a small price to pay for good neighbors.

The other and most disturbing thing is the ugly blatant racism that is still there. Now, I don't want to indite all of them because most of them are real fine folk, but it's unfortunate that you can't have a meal out without running the risk of having to listen to some loudmouth bigot spout off. And, it's ugly. Phoenix has its ethnics but I guess I have lived in a part of the city that doesn't practice the kind of racism you find in these small towns in middle America. It is true that I've never seen a person of color in the town of Pana. Maybe this allows racist attitudes to prevail.
I had hoped that America had moved passed the Sheriff Bull Conners and water hose era of the sixties. More interesting to me was the louder the lout the bigger he was. And, the bigger he was the dumber he was. It was interesting listening to them spout off - you know the type, they talk loud so the entire room can hear - and they were mostly wrong. Whatever subject they held forth on they usually had their facts wrong. Well, no need to let facts get in the way of a good bombast.

Most of the really vulgar racist remarks came from people that I am prejudiced against. So I got to wondering, if I am prejudiced against a racist am I a assholeist?