Exposing the Lipstick on Pigs

Several years back my small community of Vienna, Ohio was invaded. We were invaded by capitalist pigs. This swine brought us fracking injection wells. The wells were injected with waste chemicals brought in from nearby Pennsylvania. These chemicals were stored in large containers by locally owned, KDA not two miles from my house. In April 2015 a neighbor of these tanks had dead fish floating in his pond. One of the storage tanks had been leaking for six months. Estimates of how many chemicals leaked were thought to be at least 2,000 gallons. The Youngstown Vindicator reported this, “In raw numbers, the five Vienna wells injected about 19 million gallons underground during those six months.” This was based on the 454,000 barrels of waste the EPA said KDA wells received. Shortly after this, Vienna received another pig in a poke. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources gave the OK for an injection well, using oil field waste to be built next to two of the biggest employers in Vienna. That is the Youngstown Airport and Youngstown Air Reserve. I note all of this went on after a 4.0 –magnitude earthquake in nearby Youngstown and tremors from an injection well in Weathersfield Township. Both locations are only several miles from Vienna. Local residents and our trustees had questioned and protested against the wells being located here.

Our voices were drowned out by the squeals from the gas & oil lobby corporate pigs. These corporate pigs are able to use their cash to fill the troughs of state and federal politicians. In a 2013 study by watchdog group Common Cure it was documented that Ohio legislators received $2 million in “donations” from the natural gas industry between 2011 and 2013. This kind of cash keeps politicians living high on the hog and enjoying hog heaven and the public’s safety takes a back-burner.

We have a section in Vienna that is an enterprise zone for bigger businesses. We have seen greedy corporate hogs locate in these buildings and suck up all the corporate welfare they can. One shower curtain company located here for five years. After that time they were asked to pay a small percent in taxes so they closed up shop and headed down south. Meanwhile, Vienna struggles with raising enough taxes to keep our schools open. Vienna students go to a high school built in 1916. It is the second oldest high school in Ohio.

In 2015 the citizens of Vienna were asked to buy the latest pig in a poke. A former golf course was being turned into a hunting reserve where people could hunt fenced in animals. The 275 acres offered a place where you could shoot one of several hundred wild boars for $500 or even a whitetail deer for $14,500. Local Vienna residents worried about stray bullets and animal activists fought against it being allowed to operate. Our local trustees tried to also stop it from opening. Once again like the injection wells, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources approved its opening.  After a couple of years the canned hunting ranch closed and most of the fences around it have been removed. Local residents wondered what had become of the animals at the game reserve. Our “friends” at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said if the animals were moved or slaughtered, a special permit would be needed from the agency. The communications manager for ODNR stated in an email that the agency is “not aware of any ODNR assistance in moving animals.”

What has become of the wild animals from the game reserve? Neighbors of the reserve found some answers just this week. One of the neighbors of the property shot a 200 lb. wild boar and also spotted a 350 lb. one. Township Trustee Phil Pegg stated that what is happening now with these animals is what area citizens feared when the hunting ranch opened. Pegg said, “This is why the county asked for the Candywood Hunting reserve not to open, but we were overrode by the state. We were told we did not have a standing.”

That’s all for now from Vienna, Ohio where our citizens are again cleaning up the pig shit left behind from big business, the politicians they own and phony safety net government agencies that protect the hogs not our countries citizens.

Prophets of Rage: “Unfuck the World” 

“Enforcement isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about whether government works and who it works for.” – Elizabeth Warren

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A Child Shall Lead Us

Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, age 16 has not let her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome; ADHD, OCD and selective mutism slow her down. On August 20, 2018, the ninth grader decided to protest every Friday outside the Swedish legislature. She wanted the Swedish government to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. She was able to gain worldwide attention. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes, to demand world leaders act on climate change. This month, up to 1.4 million children around the world participated in a global climate strike.

The power of one person making a difference to change the planet has led Greta to being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg addressed the United Nations climate change summit, December 4, 2018. That same month, Time magazine named Greta one of the world’s 25 most influential teenagers of 2018. She was nominated for the Telge Energi’s Children’s Climate Prize for young people who promote sustainable development. She declined the prize because the finalists would have to fly to Stockholm. To lower her family’s carbon footprint, her family had become vegetarians and given up flying. She worried that her children and grandchildren would ask her why people had not taken action in 2018 when there was still time, to fight climate change. This 16-year-old girl (with her own physical ailments) has put the weight of the world on her shoulders and got the world to listen.

Well, maybe not the entire world. Here in the US our citizens are lifting our weight up into gas guzzling SUV’s. At Ford, trucks and SUVs account for more than 80 percent of sales. That percentage will only get bigger because Ford is discontinuing production of most of its car line. Retail sales for the nine passenger Ford Expedition were up 35 percent last year. Sales for the nine passenger Lincoln Navigator grew 70 percent making it the vehicle’s best sales year. Because of the huge demand for these two SUVs, the company is creating 550 jobs at its Louisville, Kentucky plant, but employees from the company’s nearby assembly plant will fill the positions.

In 2009 Ford received a $5.9 billion loan from the Department of Energy to build more fuel-efficient vehicles. In 2016, Ford was named, Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brand. Ford was working hard to meet strict fuel economy standards. Then, in 2018, Ford along with the rest of the auto industry lobbied to overturn those standards. Making fuel-efficient cars has been abandoned in favor of making the big profits that come with more expensive SUVs. Vehicles accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The return to gas hog vehicles is all on the consumer, not Ford. Ford tried to build fuel efficient vehicles and the buying pubic wasn’t interested in buying them. So Ford is responding to the demand for big SUVs and happy about it as it means more money for their stockholders. “Green cars” were replaced with Suvs that make the company huge green dollars. Car customers feel that gas prices are low so they can afford to drive these gas guzzling behemoths. Ford will be much more susceptible to the ill effects of rising oil prices. One severe oil price spike could send consumers back to passenger cars, the ones Ford is no longer making. What could go wrong? What is that saying about not learning from history? We are only one weather disaster or an instance of political instability in an oil region away from an oil shortage. The real price of gas would increase greatly if we quit subsidizing oil producers.

For now in the US consumers are sticking us with SUVs, the junk food of automobiles. Now we have Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet giving us gas guzzling giant vehicles. Add that to other corporations pumping out pesticides, military grade weapons, GMOs and fracking companies and we are looking at one unhealthy planet. There is no Planet B so what are we to do?

Perhaps these giant SUVs and trucks are doing something on their own to save the planet. Bert Henriksen’s 2017 Ford Explorer might be aiding Greta Thunberg’s effort to prevent climate change. You see Bert’s Explorer and 3,000 other Ford Explorers, (including ones used by police departments) are suspected of trying to poison their owners. These owners have been getting erratic and angry and having headaches while driving their Explorers. A blood test revealed that Henriksen has been exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide gas. Ford’s attempt to fix the vehicles interior environment problem has not worked. Explorer owners have now filed more than 50 lawsuits against Ford. I believe these Explorers are trying to tell their owners…….buy a smaller fuel-efficient vehicle. Perhaps these SUV’s should be called, smart cars. After all, they are smarter than their owners.

I think we can do better. The answer is to listen to Greta and the voices of our children and grandchildren. We need to aid these children by demanding climate change and taking on corporate lobby owned politicians that deny climate change. The best inheritance we can leave Greta and our future generations is a clean and sustainable planet.

If we wait too long I’m afraid a coalition from other planets will destroy Earth to save the galaxy. May the force be with us!

Song: Gas Guzzling SUV

“We need a new law that owners of SUVs are automatically in the military reserve. Then they can go get their own goddamn Oil.” ~ Jello Biafra

 

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Fellow Workers

I am saddened to hear Lordstown’s GM plant will be closing. I went through a plant closing in 1999. I think first about the upcoming struggles that unemployed workers and their families will face. I also think about workplace friendships and solidarity that will be lost. Every workplace has some unusual characters, not easily forgotten. I want to talk about some of the guys that kept me amused at the plant I worked at that closed.

Looking back 47 years, at a place I worked at is surreal. The cast of characters at the barrel plant made for some interesting and strange times. Let me start the journey by setting back the clock to 1972.

On the first day at the plant, I worked alongside Gene aka “Lean Gene.” He was in his 60’s about 5’6” and as thin as a rail. He worked at a slow pace and was never seen without a Lucky Strike hanging from his lips. He looked very wrinkled and battered from years of alcohol abuse. He had the look of many alcoholics that I worked with. They looked like they are dying by degrees. In these alcoholic’s case they were punished by their sins and not for them. Gene only worked 4 days a week as he missed every Monday. Someone painted a message on the wall near where Gene worked. It declared, “Gene’s workshop, closed weekends and Mondays.” Gene was friends with the foreman so he got away with missing work. Truth is Gene did so little work he wasn’t missed.

On day one, I was almost killed by a tow motor driver who spilled a load of steel in an aisle near me. His name was, James Benjamin Franklin Harrison Parker Morrison III. There is no way the last two people with his name were anything like this guy. He stood 6”6’’ and weighed about 370 lbs. His arms and legs were far too skinny for his body. He daily wore one t-shirt over an another. The top shirt always had holes in it that were patched. The patches also had holes in them. A Camel non-filter, burned down to a half-inch was always in the corner of his mouth with three inches of ash that would fall on his t-shirt. His mouth contained one half green tooth on top and two brown quarter teeth on bottom.  He liked new employees as older workers had already heard all of his bullshit stories.

Like a lot of employees he had a nickname and his was “Big Ben.” A guy who ate baloney sandwiches everyday was called, “Baloney John” which seems more than fair. Joe who pirated movies and pornos to rent, was justly called, “Porno Joe.”  Most plants have a weigh master nicknamed, “Bounce” and an electrician named, “Sparky.” We had neither but we had an alcoholic electrician called, “Wino Joe.” Joe had wine and whiskey bottles hidden throughout the factory. He couldn’t be fired as he had wired the whole plant and is the only guy who knew the electrical layout. Joe’s brother-in-law was the guy who looked like an Indian that could be seen walking along highways throughout the Shenango Valley.

“Big Ben” is probably the most colorful guy I remember from work. Ben was friends with the state police in Mercer and would hang out at their headquarters. He received a trooper hat as a gift from one of the state cops. Ben loved to wear that hat and put a magnetic cop bubble on his car and pull over speeders on Rt.80. At this time the state police had many strange cars they used as undercover vehicles to catch speeders. Given that, it still had to be weird to be stopped for speeding by “Big Ben.” Can you imagine being stopped by a tall guy in a trooper hat wearing a t-shirt that looked like a patchwork quilt? I can see him now getting out of his Gremlin, or later on, his Pacer with the light flashing on top. He would saunter up to a speeder’s car with his slow John Wayne swagger, with a half-inch Camel three-inch ash ciggie hanging from the corner of his three tooth mouth. On the plus side, you’d be lucky because he’d be a nice guy and only give you a warning, this time. That’s because the troopers were smart enough to have never given Ben a booklet of tickets to use. I have to think most of the motorist he stopped saw this giant monster getting out of his compact car and fled in fear.

Like all stories about weird eccentrics Ben was said to have quite a bit of money. His father had owned an AMC car dealership. Ben did have the money to travel extensively on his vacations. His wife wrote a travel column for an area newspaper (in her free time from sowing patches on his t-shirts).

Bob K. aka “Cowboy Bob,” was a major alcoholic who had a side job serving as a bartender at the VFW. Bob served himself more drinks than he did members. He had a bent over back from being in a bad car crash. He was in the backseat of a car with three other guys when the driver smashed into a cement block gas station. The driver and everyone in the car were inebriated. Bob was the only survivor of the wreck. That wreck never slowed Bob down and he was arrested dozens of times for drunk driving. At one point Bob had to attend a school for people who had multiple DUI’s. Being the oldest guy attending, they made Bob a trustee and expected him to be a role model. Bob knew he was going to be there for the whole weekend so he parked his car nearby. Bob would go outside for smoke breaks and make trips to the car where he had a couple of cases of, “Milwaukee’s Best” his favorite beer. He often claimed the cops had it out for him and would stop him for no reason. After seeing Bob driving one day, I would tend to disagree with him. Bob was driving a block long late 70’s white Cadillac Eldorado convertible with the top down. Bob had on his 10 gallon cowboy hat and the ever-present non-filtered Pall Mall dangled from his lips. Bob was as thin as the cigarette as no one had ever seen Bob eat.  Bob’s red eyes that matched the Cadillac’s crimson interior could be seen even from a distance. Bob had traffic lined up behind him because he was driving 10 MPH. I’m sure in Bob’s pickled mind he was just moving with the flow of traffic. At one time Bob ran for union president. Many of us thought it would be a hoot to have Bob trying to talk sense with our POS bosses at the contract negotiating table. We changed our minds when Bob came to the union hall drunk in a fluorescent orange leisure suit and Hawaiian shirt to check on the election results.

Paul P. “Pauly” the welder was another guy like Big Ben that had put away some big money over the years. Paul had not turned down one day of overtime in his 45 years of work. Paul missed family weddings, funerals etc. because overtime came first. Paul chose to give up his vacations and worked them instead. You would think the bosses would have loved Paul for being dependable and always being willing to work overtime. Instead, they mocked him as being a stooge they could control by waving the almighty dollar. Paul financed his son Paul Jr. to start an auto body paint shop. After a year the son ran up bills for the business and skipped town. Paul Sr. was left paying off his son’s huge debts. Paul also had to take in his son’s wife and her children. That is because when Paul Jr. left town in the middle of the night, he took his mistress with him. All that overtime of smelling welding fumes earned Paul Sr. dementia in his short almost penniless life after retiring.

Luckily, Vince C. aka “Crazy Vince,” worked outside on the loading docks. He was very strong from loading over 3,000, 55 gallon barrels a day into semi-trailers. Vince was even stronger in stenchy body odor. He wore the same unwashed dirty clothes every day. Add in that he didn’t wear deodorant or shower and ate garlic sandwiches for lunch. The EPA should have closed our plant-based on foul air violations from Vince. The other loader on the dock and truck drivers complained to management about Vince’s putrid essence. The manager had a meeting with Vince and asked him how often he bathed. Vine did not reply and angrily stared at him. The manager then stated that Vince’s fellow dock workers were complaining about his pungent fragrance. Vince replied, “I smell like a man, they smell like pussies.”

Al nickname “Rufus,” also had some foul body odor. When he passed you, you could actually visualize that cartoon type drawing of stinky, Pepe’ Le Pew whiffs of air. Rufus lived in the country and had a yard full of scrap. A rusty Model A sedan with a not for sale sign sat in his driveway for four decades. He was going to get around to fixing it, just like every other piece of junk in the yard. A fellow worker once visited him for used lawnmower parts. He said Rufus had an oily disassembled antique car motor on the kitchen table. Rufus claimed he started working on it at the table four years ago but was still trying to scrounge up enough parts to finish it. Rufus was a long time bachelor who finally married when in his fifties. He said his wife was a fancy woman because she put sheets on the bed. He decided to build a new home for his step-daughter and her husband in his backyard. He drove a dump truck to work and would fill it up every day with stolen lumber or the nicer term fellow workers use, “appropriated goods.” My brother and I happened to drive past Rufus’ house months later. We noticed a very small poorly built looking tool shed in his backyard.  I asked Rufus about the structured a few days later at work. He proudly stated, “That’s the house I built for my step-daughter.” I asked why it seemed so small. He replied, “That’s what size the wood was.”

I could go on and on about the dozens of quirky old timers we had in the plant. You have to realize these guys were so wacky they couldn’t even get drafted into WWII or the Korean War. Let me mention some of the wacky twenty somethings who were my age when I started there. It will show you that wacky was a preferred hiring trait to work in such a place.

Millwright six-foot six Dave was known as, “Parrot.” He had a parrot shaped nose which made the nickname appropriate. He took the name literally and had several parrots in his rental home in the country. Parrot missed quite a bit of work due to a back injury. He made up for the lost wages by being a major pot dealer in the valley. I visited Parrot’s place just to help my fellow co-worker earn some cash while he was recuperating from his back injury. I saw four parrots in separate cages and noticed some other animals. His whole dining area was caged in and inside was a tree in a larger container. In the tree was a least three squirrels. Parrot was finally cleared by the doctor to return to work. He did not as his side job was more lucrative and easier on the back.

Who could forget Joe C. from the 100 lb. can line? Several of us were drinking in a bar in Hubbard after work on a payday. A movie with Clark Gable was on the TV over the bar. Joe asked us, “Was Clark Gable alive when he made that movie?” Joe drove a Corvette that had huge chunks of its fiberglass body missing from so many wrecks while drunk driving. I remember Joe’s last day of work. We were walking in together when we saw Charlie the janitor. Charlie was a very mean senior gay man. When new young workers rejected his advances he’d call them, “Motherless cunts.” Joe said, “I’m going in the office and quitting because I don’t want to end up as a bitter old man like Charlie.” Joe also decided to quit being in the National Guard that weekend. He didn’t show up for his duties at the National Guard camp so he was drafted. He got lucky when he arrived at Army boot camp as his name was not on the drill Instructors list so they sent him home.

I’ll save stories about; Show-T, Lazy Loren, Mad Al, Buffalo Breath Bill, Sam the Snitch, Sleeping John, Hammering Hank, Paz the Spaz, Tommy Trash, Governor Mac and Ricky Maladjusted for another time.

These workers were a lot like Atlas. They never would have carried the workday world on their shoulders had they focused on the size and weight of it. Instead, they did the best they could on a daily basis. At one point, our barrel plant was written up in a trade magazine as making the best barrel in the country. My fellow workers deserved more than to have their plant close and to have part of their pensions stolen.

The Killers: “Land of the Free”

“Employees aren’t just workers, they’re the backbone of business and that makes them more important than the boss any day of the week.
Good Employees = Good Business”― Anthony T. Hincks

 

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Hey Teacher Leave That Kid Alone

A sixth-grade boy at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fla., refused to stand for the pledge, telling the substitute teacher that he thinks the flag and the National Anthem are “racist” against black people. The boy ended up being arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.  I had a first thought when I heard about the incident. I wondered  did it happen in Texas or Florida? Those are the first two states I think of when I hear stories like this.

The substitute teacher, Ana Alvarez responded to the boy’s comment on racism in America, “Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore, I would find another place to live.” I guess Ms. Alvarez hasn’t noticed that people in this country wearing MAGA hats feel she is not welcome here. They don’t distinguish between Cuba and Mexico. They want your Spanish-speaking brown ass kicked out of this country. Forget about whether you are legal or illegal, when these folks say, “Make America great again” they mean make it white again.

Trumpsters went online to trash this 11 year-old who had a legal right not to say the pledge or stand during it. These same Trump supporters defend their president who made fun of Gold Star families and called POW war heroes losers. We support our troops and military with our tax dollars. Trump brags about not paying his taxes and calls those who pay taxes, dumb. While 60,000 US soldiers died in Vietnam, Trump said his great sacrifice during that time was not getting an STD.

We live in a nation that loves to brag about our supposed freedom. Yet, we want to violate people’s First Amendment freedoms. I’m not worried about an eleven year-old boy destroying our country. I’m worried about politicians who voted for a law they hadn’t even read because it was called, “The Patriot Act.” I’m worried about a president who calls the press the enemy of the people. I’m worried about chicken hawk politicians who start wars they won’t fight in. I’m worried about our so-called, “representatives” who don’t believe in science or care about the planet because they are in the pocket of corporate lobbyists. Let’s not be people who will give away our freedoms while we applaud taking them away from others. We can do better than taking kids from their parents, locking them in cages and arresting eleven year-olds for expressing their opinions.

Bruce Cockburn : “Call it Democracy”

“Last Night of the World”

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
― Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

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Vehicular Means of Expression

The Chinese have fortune cookies.

The Japanese, haiku poems.

But for brevity and short U.S. attention spans,

you just can’t beat a bumper sticker.

We know you’re a 1960’s era Archie Bunker,

if you have an “America, love it or leave it,” sticker.

You grew up in the Disco 70’s

if your rear bumper sticker says,

“My other car is up my nose.”

A “$hit Happens” sticker tells us

your vehicle is a 1980’s model.

Another 1980’s one is, “Honk if you love Jesus.”

That era also gave us, “Honk if you’re horny.”

I’d have loved to have seen both stickers

proudly displayed on the same bumper.

You’re a parent in the 1990’s if your Minivan

had a sticker that said, “Baby on board.”

Were we supposed to congratulate you

for your ability to procreate?

At the peak of the “Baby on board” craze,

I saw a sticker saying, “Baby in trunk”.

In the 2000’s the family SUV’s rear window stickers,

featured a stick figure representing each family member.

My favorite one is of a stick guy humping

a woman stick figure with words

stating, “I’m working on it”.

One sticker had a helicopter firing missiles

directly at a stick family drawing saying,

“No one cares about your stick family.”

High schools give out bumper stickers

to their honor roll students.

Parents proudly display them.

Then we have the parent, likely to raise a bully

displaying his utter stupidity with his sticker saying,

“My kid just beat the crap out of your honor student”

That really shows the world the typical American attitude.

I don’t miss such bumper stickers as “I brake for Unicorns”,

“Obey gravity it’s the law” or “Don’t laugh it’s paid for.”

You’ve seen the guy in a rusty crapbox beater

with the sticker, “My other car is a Ferrari.”

I want to follow him home and say,

“I’d love to take a look at that Ferrari.”

If you drive a beat-up Pinto, belching black smoke,

you shouldn’t have a sticker about saving the planet.

A co-exist sticker has no place next to an NRA sticker.

“Jesus saves’ and a “Don’t mess with Texas,”

are almost always on the same car, or rather, truck.

You might see the angry, in your face sticker

“If you ain’t Texan you ain’t shit.”

Which means if you are Texan you are shit.

At least most vehicles with, “Save the Whales”

and other environment stickers are much easier to pass.

I hate the road rage style drivers

with “How’s my driving?” stickers.

Then you have the guy who cut you off

with his, “What would Jesus do?” sticker.

Perhaps, Jesus would use a turn signal

and thank you for letting him merge.

I saw a bumper stickers with a fair warning about the driver.

It proclaimed, “You are behind an angry religious right-wing extremist.”

If the bumper sticker on your Silverado, Ram or a PT Cruiser

shouts, ‘Take my American flag off your foreign car,”

you need to remove it as your vehicle was made in Mexico.

Team bumper stickers are quite popular.

It’s for the same reason guys wear team jackets.

They’d rather live in some athlete’s glory than none at all.

Their team bumper sticker is really declaring,

“I’m not a random blue-collar loser! I’m a STEELERS FAN!!!

Stoners put on a “Drugs Kill” bumper sticker.

Alcoholics a “Love is a Sober Driver” sticker.

It cuts down on getting stopped by the police

in those late-night roadside checkpoints.

My son is serving in the US Army” is good

for an additional 15 mph over the speed limit.

If you drive a Chevy Equinox or a Ram pickup

you definitely need a bright-colored bumper sticker.

That’s because these vehicles are like belly buttons,

so a sticker will help you find your car in a sea of lookalikes.

A study showed that drivers of cars with bumper sticker,

window decals, personalized plates and other territorial markers

are quicker to get mad and use their vehicle for road rage.

The personality transformation people have

behind the wheel of a car can be very scary.

My wife has said that I’m an aggressive driver.

I’ve explained to her that I’m only doing it because

other drivers are jerks who don’t know how to drive.

Drivers like me, are just trying to increase the overall quality

of driving on our highways by passing slow drivers

in no passing lanes, tailgating, using obscene gestures

and running people in our way off the road’s shoulder.

In the end everyone will become better drivers because

of the actions of us aggressive drivers.

As for bumper stickers, if their message makes your blood boil

it has conveyed the car owner’s intended message.

These folks are narcissists trapped in their crappy car.

They want you to know their shitty point of view.

The rustier the car, the more stickers

and the stronger their angry opinions.

It’s obvious they hate their car, family, ex-spouse,

crap job, crap life and are living in their mom’s basement.

Let’s be honest with bumper sticker drivers and tell them,

people don’t need bumper stickers to share their opinions.

We have Facebook, which gives us more privacy and safety

when we are sharing our ignorant, hateful offensive views.

Besides, we don’t have time to read your bumper stickers

because we are too busy texting while driving.

Lonnie Holley: “I Threw My Headback”

“I Woke Up” 

“Impatience often makes us patients.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recliners, Orthotics and Bifocals

Every day at work seemed like it would never end. Then in what seemed like a blink of an eye you were old enough to retire. It didn’t really sneak up on you. You could have easily recognized the signs of aging. Remember when you were young and entered the workforce and thought about a keg party on the weekend. Now KEG has been replaced with EKG. You use to buy killer weed then you became a homeowner and were now buying weed killer. When you were young you felt invincible like Superman. You now feel like Superman after a double shift at the kryptonite mine. You now turn out the lights for economic reasons not romantic ones.  The snap, crackle pop sound that was your breakfast cereal is the sound your limbs make getting out of bed in the morning. You use to feel bad only from a hangover from a night on the town. Now, you feel that bad daily and you haven’t been anywhere the night before. Hell, your back now goes out more than you do. A night out at this age means sitting out on the patio. Happy hour now means a nap. Your job had become less fun and now that you’re retired fun has became a lot more work.  You’ve slowed down so much that it takes you two hours to watch, “60 Minutes.” You have become wise enough to watch your step but feeling too old to go anywhere. You also don’t want to fall as breaking a hip seems to be mandatory as you get older.

In retirement you will learn to do without a lot of things. That is because your feet are so tired you can’t stand in line for things. You’ve lost all your energy so you now procrastinate. A solution is to make to do lists of things you’ve already done. You’ve also gotten grumpier and can’t stand people who are intolerant. If a sales clerk tells you, “Have a good one” you reply, “I’m old I no longer have a good one.” You are now in AARP which gives you things like discounts on travel. That’s a waste as at this age you get travel sickness. You will also get discounts on getting your taxes done. You of course now don’t make enough money to pay taxes. You are now officially an old fart and when asked for donations reply, “I’m on a fixed income.” Discounts on drugs are a great benefit! You don’t do mind expanding drugs like you did when you were young, you now take memory enhancers. You are now on so many meds you’ve built an extension on to your medicine cabinet. You will be getting cortisone in so many body areas that you will think about alternatives. Perhaps, you should have your blood taken out and replaced with cortisone. That way you can just pinch the area hurting and activate the cortisone.

There are some things you can buy to make your retirement better. First off you will wonder when they started making chairs you couldn’t get out of. That is why you will need a good sturdy reclining chair. One that electronically raises and dumps you out is worth considering. If you and your wife are still getting along you can purchase a reclining sofa. You won’t have to sit next to each other as the center section does not recline. Also, get a reclining bed platform. This is great for reading or watching TV in bed. Raising the back slightly will cut down on the snoring from sleep apnea that you or your spouse definitely has. Get a great mattress that will ease your arthritic filled body. I usually buy local but could not find a mattress I liked. I’d recommend an online Pangea or if you’re flush with cash an Avocado mattress. Setting the platform to zero gravity will also help with the pains you have after your gym workout or chair yoga class. Those are both courtesy of the Silver Sneakers card your advanced age has provided.

Get some comfortable walking shoes. If you wear a wide EEEE like me I’d recommend shoes by Brooks, SAS, Drew or PW Minor. All are over $100 and will be deep enough for you to put your $500 orthotics in. You need these because of the bone spurs in each heel. At least twice a year you will get cortisone shots in your heels. You will also be getting these shots in your hips, back, knees and shoulders. You will have money for expensive shoes as you no longer have to buy clothes for work. You use to love going from store to store clothes shopping. Now you buy all your clothes in a medical supply store. All you need now are loose fitting diabetic socks, two long sleeve dress shirts, two casual short sleeve shirts and four colored t-shirts. Two of those must contain printed comments. I’d suggest statements like, “World’s Greatest Grandpa or Glam Ma.” You need one pair of navy or tan dress pants. You will also need two bark denim pairs of jeans. One can be tighter fitting but one must be baggy. That is the pair you will wear when you visit the orthopedic surgeon. You can easily roll them up for that cortisone shot in your knee or have access to have it drained (an experience you will not forget). Optional clothing is shorts accompanied by black high socks and sandals. Buy cheap bifocals and leave a pair in every room in the house.

There is a fine line between hobbies and mental illness. Home gardening and being a guy who mows his yard every other day is a mental illness. Get a hobby where you can get out and meet others of all ages. Impart some of your wisdom on younger generations and learn new ideas from them. You’re never too old to build community. Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter.” I say, “Work with others on issues that matter, no matter what your age is.”

World Party : “Ship of Fools”

“Private Revolution”

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~ Betty Friedan

 

 

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Wondering About the Senses or a Sense of Wonder?

We see 60 images per second

and a dragonfly can see 200.

Reindeer can see UV light.

Sharks posses a homing device that guides

the shark even in the darkest, murkiest water.

The barn owl can pinpoint a sound

to the millimeter using their ears.

Dogs can hear a whistle that man can’t.

Jewel beetles can sense a pine fire tens of miles away.

Bumblebees use hair on their legs to detect

a flower’s electromagnetic field.

Elephant’s feet and trunks are sensitive enough to pick up

vibrations created by elephants as far as 10 miles away.

Bloodhounds can trace footsteps even in the worst weather.

Silvertip Grizzlies can smell you from 18 miles away.

Homing pigeons need no maps or compasses.

Millions of North American monarch butterflies

fly 1500 miles to the forests of Mexico every winter.

Arctic terns fly 1.5 million miles in their lifetime.

That is 3 round- trip flights to the moon.

Wild animals as a means of defense,

flee as man approaches them.

That motion is a comment on how

they have been treated by man.

They’ve heard that a bird in the hand

is worth two in the bush.

We use the term dumb animal.

Perhaps, the animal is superior to man.

We have subtle sounds we can’t hear,

rays of light we can’t see,

Yet we talk about the 5 senses

as if we posses any of them.

We have not further developed these senses

since our ancient cave dwelling past.

Yet, man thinks he is the pinnacle of civilization.

A blind man can develop a better sense of sound.

It’s as if Mother nature takes from something

not utilized to give to something needed.

Facilities considered dead weight

shifted to facilities most necessary.

As I remember reading Homer,

he never saw paradise until he was blind.

I appreciate a six sense, the sense of heart hunger

It drives men to look for soul-qualities

in others that we don’t posses,

that will complement our own soul.

Love might be the best sense because lovers

in completion with each other

to see who can love the most

can be the planet’s transforming force.

I hope some of this makes sense.

 

Astrix: “Beyond the Senses”

“If you are what you eat, you are what you see and hear.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri

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