Thursday, August 27, 2015

BACK TO WORK



I remember when my mother died, peacefully, at home.
I called the police, the fire department, the funeral home.
I called some family and some of moms friends.
I guess I kept it together pretty well for all those calls.
It was when I called work, and my good friend and workmate answered the phone that I lost it.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for these folks at WDBJ in Virginia coming in to work this morning.
Prayers and blessings to them.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?



At the QT’s getting coffee this morning I saw the pretty girl that comes in all the time. She was up front at the register, so I didn’t stir the Splenda into my coffee, I just capped it and ran to the front, hoping that maybe I’d have a chance to give her my best “Good Morning” in my best voice. I’d never been in proximity to be able to do that before, and she’s very pretty, and maybe this would be my lucky day.
So I came skidding up right behind her in line, and I froze like a stone. She was wearing that backless turquoise number layered with a sheer Ann Klein T underneath, which allowed me to see the outline of her lacy little pink bra. It’s a great gimmick, but the thing is…
The 3" long tag was hanging out the back of the turquoise top!
I froze like a stone.
What to do?
Should I just step up and say ‘Let me help you with this, baby” and tuck the tag back into her shirt?
(she’s a nice tall size 6/8 and a 34B, with a round face, long sandy blonde hair, and nice nails)
Or should I just let it pass?
Which do you think I did?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

THE DESCENDENTS

I was watching PBS Sunday afternoon. The pldge drive is on. They had a show celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Ken Burns outstanding 1990 documentary “The Civil War”.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched this documentary.
Hundreds, no doubt.
But it was in the presentation Sunday, the celebration, that a part really hit home that I hadn’t fully understood before.

Some people want to claim that the war began over states rights.
I’ll let them continue to think that if they like.
But by the end of the war it had become something else.
The war had become about freeing the 4 million black slaves in the south.
It was about what Lincoln had called a "new birth of freedom", and filling the promise of the declaration of independence that "all men are created equal".
And the point they made Sunday that I had missed before, even after watching the documentary all those times the last 20 years, is that it wasn’t just about those 4 million slaves.
More importantly, it was about THE DESCEDANTS of those 4 million slaves.

So with tears in my eyes I called the local PBS station to make a pledge.
Seventy Two bucks, and I get the book with the entire narration of the 12 hours Ken Burns Civil War Masterpiece, full of first person stories and outstanding photography like you’ve never seen.
“How much does that book cost off the shelf?” I asked the lady that took my call.
“I don’t know” she said “Maybe 20 bucks?”

“Ok then” I said, choked with emotion “W-w-why don’t you p-p-pput me down for an even 100 dollars instead of j-j-just the 72?“

Thursday, August 13, 2015

AND THAT WAS ENOUGH FOR ME

I’m white, decidedly non-religious, but recognize the guaranteed right of any religion to build a church, temple synagogue or mosque anywhere they like, will pay extra to live in a clean modern and compassionate society, and a huge premium to live in a country with the most modern kick ass military possible. I believe in the brotherhood of man, but recognize, as my Aunt Glesnal would say, “there is a lot of meanness in the world”. 


I am filled with southern pride when I see the flag known as “The Confederate Battle Flag”  being flown at automotive junkyards, displayed on bottles of whiskey, at Charlie Daniels Band concerts, and all KKK rally’s, as long as it is displayed properly.
This is the same Southern Pride I felt when I was in the sixth grade, and supported George Wallace in his bid for presidency, even though I didn't exactly know what Mr. Wallace was about. I just knew it was my Southern Duty to support him, and that was enough for me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

DAVE MOWS GRASS ON STATISTICS

"..., leave the statistics stuff alone unless you're comfortable with uncertainty. I'm just a hack, but I'm already drowning in a sea of reserved judgments. You see, a hypothesis test can only have four results. You can say:


A. Based on these data, we can reject the null hypothesis.

B. Based on these data, we can accept the alternate hypothesis.

C. Based on these data, we cannot reject the null Hypothesis.

D. Based on these data, we cannot accept the alternate hypothesis.

We can't "accept the null hypothesis" because that isn't our goal. We are trying to discover something novel, not just reinforce some preconceived notion. If we can't reject the null hypothesis or accept the alternate hypothesis, we must simply reserve judgment. Maybe some later test will allow us to reject the null hypothesis or accept the alternate.

This is really a life-changing concept. This is actually why I consider myself an agnostic fundamentalist rather than an atheist. If I start with "There is no God" as the null hypothesis and "There is a God" the alternate hypothesis, I will never be able to state conclusively that there is no God. I must simply reserve judgment until I see something which allows me to either reject the null hypothesis or accept the alternate. Even then, there is still some confidence interval--either a numerical or a conceptual one--which means there's a risk of making a false inference. That's the "Based on these data..." part of it.

So unless you are comfortable not knowing, leave the statistics stuff alone. If just one part of you tries to hold on to the absurd notion that it's possible to measure something accurately, the resulting contradictions will tear you apart. You have to let go. If you make the leap, though, you'll find it strangely liberating. Being able to acknowledge sources of uncertainty and explain how you dealt with them reinforces whatever argument you are making. Your stock will go up!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"HISTORY CLOSE ENOUGH YOU CAN REACH OUT AND TOUCH IT"



"The season turned like the page of a glossy fashion magazine.
In the park the daffodils came up
and in the parking lot, the new car models were on parade.

Sometimes I think that nothing really changes—

The young girls show the latest crop of tummies,
and the new president proves that he's a dummy.

But remember the tennis match we watched that year?
Right before our eyes

some tough little European blonde
pitted against that big black girl from Alabama,
cornrowed hair and Zulu bangles on her arms,
some outrageous name like Vondella Aphrodite—

We were just walking past the lounge
and got sucked in by the screen above the bar,
and pretty soon
we started to care about who won,

putting ourselves into each whacked return
as the volleys went back and forth and back
like some contest between
the old world and the new,

and you loved her complicated hair
and her to-hell-with-everybody stare,
and I,
I couldn't help wanting
the white girl to come out on top,
because she was one of my kind, my tribe,
with her pale eyes and thin lips

and because the black girl was so big
and so black,
so unintimidated,

hitting the ball like she was driving the Emancipation Proclamation
down Abraham Lincoln's throat,
like she wasn't asking anyone's permission.

There are moments when history
passes you so close
you can smell its breath,
you can reach your hand out
and touch it on its flank,

and I don't watch all that much Masterpiece Theatre,
but I could feel the end of an era there

in front of those bleachers full of people
in their Sunday tennis-watching clothes

as that black girl wore down her opponent
then kicked her ass good
then thumped her once more for good measure

and stood up on the red clay court
holding her racket over her head like a guitar.

And the little pink judge
had to climb up on a box
to put the ribbon on her neck,
still managing to smile into the camera flash,
even though everything was changing

and in fact, everything had already changed—

Poof, remember? It was the twentieth century almost gone,
we were there,

and when we went to put it back where it belonged,
it was past us
and we were changed."
Tony Hoagland, "The Change"




Hoagland received a lot of criticism for this poem, and here is an extract form his response....
"You are confused...you are naive when it comes to the subject of American racism, naive not to believe that it permeates the psychic collective consciousness and unconsciousness of most Americans in ways that are mostly ugly.

The elements of that confusion are, as we all know, guilt, fear, resentment, and wariness. Its sources are historical and economic and institutionalized. We drank racism with our mother’s milk, and we re-learn it every day, as we weave our way through our landscapes of endless inequality....
When it comes to the subject of American race, it is a set of conditions we all suffer, whether in our avoidance or confrontation. We will need to be rousted for another fifty, or a hundred years. I would rather get dirty trying to dig it out of the ground, than make nice.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

THE TWO REPUBLICAN DEBATES

We had the "A" and "B" teams up today for the first round of debates.
What I wanna know is....
Who else do we got?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

DOCTOR MARTHA

 Dr. Martha was no-nonsense. Practiced medicine into her 80's. wore jogging shoes, and wind-sprinted from one patient to the next.
My ex went to see her.
Shila-“I think I’m allergic to lemons”
Dr. Martha- “Don’t eat lemons”
Shila- “Don’t you want to test me?”
Dr. Martha- “Do you want to get poked with 1000 needles?”

Friday, July 31, 2015

GUN CONTROL & VELVET

One night at about 2 am a bunch of us were partying, just like usual. Suddenly the front door bursts open, and its some wild eyed dude, and in one hand he’s got a handful of some slutty looking chicks hair, and in the other hand he’s got a pistol. Big silver revolver with ivory handles. He's waving it around while he's swinging this chick around by the hair.
“Where the fuck is JoJo!” he hollers out.
JoJo was one of the people that lived there, but  he was was not present at the moment. Jojo’s roommate steps forward, her name is Velvet.
“What are doing bursting into my house?’ she demands
“JoJo  has been fucking my wife here!” and he jostles the slut around by the hair a little, and waves the gun some more.
Man, I’m sitting on the couch, and I just want out of there, ya know?
Well, Velvet, all this does is piss her off.
She stomps right up to him, grabs him by the arm, says “I told you JOJO aint here, now get the fuck out of my house” and tosses the guy out by his ear and closes the door behind her.
Man, we all just looked at her like she was some kind of badass, ya know?
And someone asks her ‘Velvet, weren’t you afraid of his gun?”
Velvet gets this funny look on her face and says:
“GUN? WHAT GUN?”

She never saw it. I think about that every time I have occasion (which has been a lot lately) to say “I’ve never been in a situation that would not have been made worse with the introduction of a gun.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things they have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made a victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. Listen to Rat Kiley. Cooze, he says. He does not say bitch. He certainly does not say woman, or girl. He says cooze. Then he spits and stares. He’s nineteen years old — it’s too much for him — so he looks at you with those big sad gentle killer eyes and says cooze, because his friend is dead, and because it’s so incredibly sad and true: she never wrote back.

You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth; if you don’t care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty. Listen to Rat: “Jesus Christ, man, I write this beautiful fuckin’ letter, I slave over it, and what happens? The dumb cooze never writes back.” 

― Tim O'BrienThe Things They Carried