Recently posted quotes:

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It’s been a bad week for Sports Heroes or has it?

It’s been a bad week for Sports Heroes or has it? It all depends on who you describe as a hero.

First, ya got your Lance Armstrong, or as I refer to him—Lance Madolph. We realize he has been falling for some time now, but those still riding his band wagon weren’t really sure until he told Oprah the dirty little news. The guy seems to be nothing more than a thug and a cheat—definitely not your everyday-run-of-the-mill hero.

Then we find out that Manti Te’o’s imaginary girlfriend most likely never existed even though he kept us up to date on the minute-by-minute developments of his hurt for more than a month after discovering that she didn’t die on the same day as his grand mother and never even existed at all. String-along-fiction at it’s best!

This morning I woke up to more bad news about still yet another sports hero. Stanley Frank Musial (Stan the Man) passed away Saturday at his home in St. Louis. This is a far better candidate for bad sports news than either of the two accounts above.


For more than 60 years I have maintained Stan the Man as my primary idol in the world of sports and a true hero—a far piece from the Johnny-come-latelies above—neither of which can reach the coat tales of the Cardinal Legend.

I first became a follower of Stan Musial listening to the Cardinal games over the radio as my family moved around the South, the Midwest, later the West and finally in Texas—the Cardinal games were always available on the radio; they being the most western existing team playing Major League Baseball at the time.

Then I got the chance of a lifetime for a kid born in the forties and growing up in the early fifties. While living in Taylorville, IL, my family chose to drive to St. Louis one sweltering August weekend to see the Brooklyn Dodgers play the St. Louis Cardinals in ole Sportsman Stadium. I thought I had been elected with a ticket to heaven.

We made the trip and I still have the program, the Cardinal yearbook and the Stan the Man bat I managed to talk my dad into buying for me—I don’t recall it being that hard of a task; he was a Cardinal man himself.

I know it’s one of those kid-bats, but it’s my Stan the Man Bat

Stan Musial was part of that Greatest Generation and even took a year off in 1945 to serve in the Navy during World War II—you wouldn’t catch either of the above serving anywhere that wasn’t in their money grubbing future.

Musial, while playing 22 years with the Cardinals, won the batting title seven times, hitting .300 or better for 16 straight seasons, played on three World Champion Teams, won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award three times, played in 24 All-star games (tying a record) and held the National League record for hits.

One of my fondest memories came in the late 70s during a trip to Cooperstown when I had the opportunity to stand beside the locker of Stan the Man and introduce my son to the record plaques hanging on the wall of the top ten record holders in all the primary statistical holders in baseball up to that time. At the top of most and mixed somewhere in the top ten of all was the name Stan Musial. He was simply the best at what he did and held that level for a long, long time.

Oh, that game in August of 1951, the Cardinals won by-the-way. There were some very memorable names on the field that day— Enos Slaughter (9) and Red Schoendienst (2) for the Cardinals and Roy Campanella (39), Pee Wee Reese (1), Jackie Robinson (42), Duke Snider (4) and Dick Williams (38) for the Brooklyn Dodgers (for the sake of space; I’ll just name the eventual Hall of Fame members on the field that day). But I came to see  Stan Musial (6).

“A large bronze statute erected outside Busch Stadium II and then moved to the newest Busch Stadium carries the words uttered by then commissioner Ford C. Frick the day Musial retired, on Sept. 29, 1963. Frick said: “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.”” (“Cardinal’s Hall of Famer Stan Musial dies at age 92” R.B. Fallstrom, The Associated Press, Jan. 20, 2013)

That's me in front of the Musial statue referenced above on a pilgrimage to the Stadium.

Will we ever see another the likes of Stan the Man?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It’s Cold outside – time to step it up!

So, it’s colder than usual outside. It’s time to step it up—time to do your best. The invigoration of the cold always gets my blood churin’!

Time to look for a cold weather challenge—something out of the ordinary, something you don’t do in the everyday world you survive in. Take on a task that pushes your limits.

In my younger days, this might have been a road trip—we called them convoys back then—of multiple days and an extended duration. I realize you might not be able to arrange for a cool 100 vehicles to tag along with you, but so what? Try it without the extra hundred of friends and acquaintances. Just a couple of family members will suffice to make the endurance worthwhile.

It really doesn’t matter to me if there is an itinerary or you take off ad hoc and see where you end up. The fun and the challenge is the going.

While we are discussing the cool, this time of year always causes me to undergo Moose withdrawals. I haven’t seen nor interacted with a Moose in some time. I miss the excitement of one of those 1200+ pound beasts trying to get the best of me. A side note: Moose should always be capitalized—they weigh 1200+ pounds and anything that big deserves respect—always.

At one point in my life, I used to come across a Moose all the time. Just a few encounters I might mention:
Playing Moose tag in the far, far woods (Patsy never enjoyed it as much as I did.)
Moose in the morning formation
Moose foraging under the back deck
Moose inside the Battalion Headquarters
Many, many more

Back yard

Same shot as above - taken through binocular lens 
(couldn't afford telephoto lens at the time!)

Moose headed into playground area

Take the challenge and just maybe include a Moose along the way—take my word both will invigorate your day (or week)!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rough Eye Job, My most recent trip to the eye doctor!

Had the opportunity to have a little eye work done this morning. Wasn’t expecting it to happen today, but glad it did. I find the worst aspect of medical procedures is the anxiety that builds toward that procedure out in the future. I tend to spend far too much time worrying about the possible pain, the what-can-g-wrong, the recovery, etc. The actual procedures seem to never reach the level of worry and anxiety I put into them.

Back in November, I got an appointment with my ophthalmologist, Doc Real-Good-Hands, because of a problem resembling a sty on my right eyelid. There wasn’t much pain, just a little tenderness, but I was concerned because I woke up every morning with the eye swollen shut about half-way. Of course it was a much bigger problem to Patsy than it was to me. After a couple of days of trying to ignore her—sure that the problem would go away—I knuckled under and scheduled a visit to my doc.

Doc Real-Good-Hands down played the importance of the problem—not a sty, just a blocked tear duct. His advice at the time was to apply hot compresses multiple times a day and see if the problem resolves itself. Well, the holidays threw a clinker into that process. Three trips to the Dallas area, three trips to Bryan-College Station, one trip to Mississippi and the grand kids for a week didn’t help the matter much—not to mention the weather and cleaning pup feet constantly over the last two months—rain finally came to Austin. I admit that I coulda done better.

The knot of my eyelid kept getting bigger and bigger. Again came the ragging from Patsy and still more feet cleaning getting in the way. I’d finally had enough of it and called this morning to see when I could get an appointment. To my utter surprise, the lady said “how about ten o’clock?”

I responded: “What day?”

She said: “This morning!”

I said: “Fine. I’ll see you at ten.”

I was on time, even a little early. They weren’t. After a short wait (the first of seven) I was ushered back for the prelim of taking evidence. Then to another waiting area, probably the longest wait of all. Finally, the original note taker puts me in another room to (again) wait the doc.

Doc Real-Good-Hands comes in and looks at the eye and says: “Didn’t get better? Pretty big knot now. Let’s fix it!” Follow me over to a room where we will do the work. I hadn’t expected this to happen today—it almost never does. He showed me to another room and said wait here and we’ll be right back with what we need to get this fixed.

A nurse came back in a matter of minutes with the paperwork—releasing the medical profession of all liability because I signed away the authorization for them to gouge out my eye. Again I wait.

Both Doc and the nurse blast back in through the door throwing on all the lights and a few more strong light sources hidden away in unsuspecting corners of the room. While Nurse fiddles with the instruments, Doc lays me back in the exam chair in most likely the worst comfortable of all positions. I complain a bit and he adjusts the head rest—this restores blood to my lower extremities but doesn’t feel much better.

Doc states: “The worst of the procedure is the numbing needle. It’s all downhill from there. First I have to apply this clamp that will hold your eyelid inside out and back out of the way.”

“Go get it doc; I’m ready!” False bravado always sounds so good.

“Kook up this way and push out your chin.”

“My chin! I thought you were going to work on my eye.” I respond.

Doc chuckled once and grabbed my eyelid and attached it to what felt like my rear end—I know it was at least the back of my neck. You know, I don’t care too much for needles around my eyes, but in this position with a million candle power light shining in my eye, my eyelid hooked behind my ear and the doc’s death grip on my head I couldn’t do anything but observe the procedure.

First Doc pores a numbing solution into my eye socket and then pokes me three or four times with the numbing needle—the first prick having a small sting to it, but the rest felt like just a touch; quick stuff!

Then comes the Bowie Knife to make the incision which was quickly followed by what appeared to be a tiny small hook apparatus that he gouged out the oil build up. Over and over this part of the procedure continued—a Que-tip in one hand and a new wire hook in the other after each new gouge. “There’s a lot here to get.” Doc says.

Several minutes past and Doc is still digging and retrieving new tools. Nurse seems worried if she brought enough and asks if he might need more. Doc responds: “No, I think I can get it all with what we have. This is the biggest knot of the year though.”

I said: “Doc, it’s only the 11th of January!”

“OK, OK! But still in the top ten of last year.” Still more digging.

Finally comes the “there, we’ve got it all. I’m just going to put some ointment on it and cover it with a compression patch in case it bleeds a bit and we’ll give you a rest for about ten minutes.” Well, finally the last of the waits is upon me. They both depart and turn of some of the flood lights on their way out. There I sit, finally upright again.

I wasn’t paying much attention and assume ten minutes past. Doc came back in and removed the patch, dabbed the eye a bit and said I might have a little pink colored tears until the healing finishes.

I was ushered out and able to continue my day.

While the doc was outta the room the last time, I broke hospital rules by taking out my phone and snapping a pix of my eye area—I hope I didn’t offend somebody’s pacemaker or stop an assisted breathing apparatus while I was in action.

When I got to my vehicle I text’d the pix to Patsy and ask her if she would like me to stop by for lunch. The result is exactly what one might expect: “Can you drive like that?” I had brought my glasses and was set—of course Patsy didn’t know that! I’ll probably dream tonight ‘bout that needle and wire hooks around my eye.

 The pix did it's intended job!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cliff! What Cliff?

Did you jump or stand on the periphery and watch the orchestrated mambo-jumbo by both parties (Dems & Repubs) as they made the (almost) exact deal most us expected back in mid-summer?

There was absolutely no valid reason for the American populous to have been put through this rigmarole for the past six months.

Rigmarole is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as (1) Confused, rambling, or incoherent discourse; nonsense and (2) a complicated, petty set of procedures. I believe they hit it right on the nose. Right!

We have seen wild fluctuations in the market and big drops for absolutely no reason whatsoever. We have seen oh, so many days of no action other than name-calling. Any non-productive term one can bring to mind can be attached to the D.C. goings-on!

We all knew they would rush at the very last minute to a compromise, somewhere just to the right (or left) of the middle, depending on your point of view, so that each side could claim to their constituency that they had won in the end.

Constituency is defined by the Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed. (1) the body of people who are eligible to vote and elect a leader or (2) a group of supporters or potential supporters.
Right again?

Here I would question if we really got what we, the people voted for—I don’t think so. There are some that would disagree to a varying extent in both directions.

We voted for this!


But we got this!

I think the only winners here are those that make their living from the transactions lobbying with the congress and those that make their living charging a fee for transacting the business of buying those stocks that go up and down as a result of the actions of those lobbying with the congress.

The rest of us just pay, one way or the other.

We had our chance to change this course for approximately 5/6ths of those in the D.C. area—the entire House of Representatives, 1/3rd of the Senate and the President. We failed to do our part!!!

By the time our chance to take action on this stage comes around again (2 years down the road), we will have forgotten our displeasure and fall right back into our no-action ways.

Who out there thinks there is a chance in the world that there could be a recall election of those members who won reelection or had a bye and will move on into the next version of the same-ole-same-ole body of derelict operators residing in the seats that actually belong to us?

Derelict is defined by:

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1) run-down; dilapidated (2) neglectful of duty or obligation; remiss.

Collins English Dictionary - a person who is neglectful of duty or obligation

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition - lacking a sense of duty, negligent

Webster's Revised Unabridged, 1913 Edition - lost; adrift; hence, wanting; careless; neglectful; unfaithful.

The Wordsmyth English Dictionary-Thesaurus - (1) failing to fulfill one's responsibilities or obligations; remiss. (2) abandoned, because of failure to function.

Take your pick!