Quote of the Day

Monday, October 31, 2011

We All Need A Living Will

Everyone should have a living will. My dear friend and former law professor at HCC suggested this living will might just be better than the one we covered in the Wills, Trusts and Probate class some of us slept through. Feel free to copy and substitute your name - I mean type in your name not "your name".

Maxine Living Will.jpg (40392 bytes)

I,   MAXINE,  being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by
artificial means.  Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead
politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it, or lawyers
and doctors interested in simply running up the bills.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:

Glass of wine
Chocolate Martini
Cold Beer
Chicken fried steak
Cream Gravy
Mexican Food
French Fries
Chocolate Ice Cream
Cup of Tea

It should be presumed that I won't ever get better.  When such a determination is reached, I
hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the
tubes and call it a day.

hat-image002.gif (9745 bytes)

Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Anti-Choicers In Florida

From Progress Florida: "The assault on women and their health care decisions is about to reach new heights in Florida. Extreme right wing activists are attempting to put a constitutional amendment on Florida’s 2012 ballot that would give a fertilized egg the legal rights of a living person.

Such a radical amendment would unleash a Pandora’s Box of cruel and unnecessary consequences for all of Florida’s families. It would outlaw all abortions, even in the horrific cases of rape and incest. It could also outlaw commonly used forms of birth control, including The Pill and emergency contraception."

I can certainly envision this proposed amendment to be one of many radical amendments to the Florida Constitution. We already have given pigs Constitutional status, so why not a fertilized egg? The radical extremists could even carry this anti-choice issue further into the realm of the insane.

Let's give sperm and the unfertilized egg legal status, too. That would definitely give the government and their right wing extremist supporters complete control over our reproductive rights. This new amendment could make it illegal not to use sperm and the egg for procreation. This would ensure our species overpopulates an already overcrowded planet. This law, of course, would render masturbation and nocturnal emissions illegal activities since sperm would not be utilized for its lawful purpose.

Hey, don't laugh! The gates to the asylums have been flung open and the loonies are on the loose. There was a discussion on TV the other day about a similar law being considered in Mississippi. The question about an unfertilized egg was brought up in the context of its legal status.

One last thought: On the possibility of outlawing various forms of contraception, Progress Florida neglected to mention tube-tying and vasectomies. Talk about opening Pandora's box! Untie those tubes ladies, and guys, glue the vas deferens back together. Fornicating for fun is verboten!

My position on the abortion issue is this: If you don't have a box, then you have no standing on the issue. So, to the male extremists who are pushing this agenda, go take your pud and pound it somewhere else and leave the Florida Constitution and a woman's uterus alone.

And to the women, if these ass-holes don't start minding their own business then take your business off the table. Shut down the vagina until these right wing activists shut their pie holes.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

In A Perfect World...

A headline in today's St. Pete Times:

Hotels told to cut rate for GOP

It seems that the Goobers On Parade are trying to renege on a contract they signed guaranteeing hotel rates for their Goober Smooching Fest to be held in Tampa in 2012.

In a perfect world, the headline in tomorrow's paper would read:

Hoteliers to GOP - Go Fuck Yourselves

I mean, turn around is fair play, isn't it? That certainly is what the Republicans have been telling the American middle class, the poor, and the elderly. 

On an unrelated note: Congratulations to the Florida Netroots Best Local Blog Winner: Ybor City Stogie.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bill Of Rights In A Cloud

We haven't created a word cloud in awhile, so here is one courtesy of Wordle:

I chose the Bill of Rights since both it and the U.S. Constitution seem to be lost in the cloud of delusions by the Republican Presidential contenders, many of whom appear to have never availed themselves of either document.

The Oracle did not consider the Tea Baggers since their heads do not appear to be lost in the clouds, but rather lodged firmly elsewhere.
Happy Friday, y'all.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Religious Freedom: An Oxymoron In Florida

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." ~ Thomas Jefferson 1779

At a hearing today in Leon Circuit Court in Tallahassee it will be decided whether Amendment 7 — dubiously titled "Religious Freedom" — should remain on the November 2012 ballot.

The position of the Oracle: It Shouldn't!

Amendment 7 will compel all Floridians, regardless of their religious beliefs, to contribute money - their tax dollars - to religious organizations. That includes all religious organizations - Christian, Islamic, right wing, left wing, that whacko in Gainesville who threatened to burn the Koran setting off an international incident.

What, exactly, does Amendment 7 do?

Here is what the existing text of Section 3: Religious Freedom will look like if Amendment 7 is approved:

"There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or safety. No individual or entity may be discriminated against or barred from receiving funding on the basis of religious identity or belief. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution." (Strikethrough text will be removed)

Without that language in the Florida Constitution, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center could grab some of our tax dollars to perpetuate his lunacy. That possibility apparently sat well with the Florida Legislature. In order to qualify for the November 2012 ballot the proposed amendment required approval by a minimum of 60% in the both the House and the Senate. On April 27, 2011 the House voted 81-35 on HJR 1471. The Senate gave final approval to refer the measure to the statewide ballot on May 6 following a 26-10 vote.

One of the biggest problems with Amendment 7 remaining on the ballot is the wording. The amendment is written in such a way that many Floridians might be misled into voting away their religious liberty. Truth be told, Florida voters are notorious for casting their votes without having a clue (see Scott - crook who bought Florida). Titling Amendment 7 as "Religious Freedom" almost guarantees approval by the 60% who have no idea they will be funding the Florida chapter of the Westboro Baptist Church or the Knights of the Holy See.

In a perfect world the Leon Circuit Court will remove Amendment 7 from the ballot. If they don't, we can only hope that Florida voters will acquaint themselves with the issues before casting their ballots. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, though.


Remembering the S/V Fantome

To celebrate the birthday of my lovely bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, in May of 1998 we flew from Tampa down to Caracas, Venezuela to meet the Windjammer sailing vessel Fantome. Once on board we set sail with the traditional playing of Amazing Grace on the ship's speakers.

This was the start of a relocation cruise that took us from Bonnaire, to Aruba, then on to Port Antonio, Jamaica before we disembarked in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. The Fantome continued her journey to Belize and the Bay Islands of Honduras for a fateful summer season.

Our friend Sandy and the Belle of Ballast Point as we head off on a shore adventure.

Captain March (front row, second from the left) and his crew.
The 282-foot, four-masted schooner S/V Fantome, with 31 crewmen aboard (non-essential crew were put ashore in Belize), disappeared off the coast of Honduras on October 27. Its last assumed position was overrun by Hurricane Mitch, the fifth-fiercest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.

BrotherGuy posted the following on YouTube:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Warning To 21st Century America

Franklin Delano Roosevelt; (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

The year was 1936 and FDR looked into the future to issue this warning to present day America:

I know that we are fast approaching All Hallows Day, the season of ghosts and goblins, but that YouTube video was down right spooky.

Seventy five years ago FDR warned the country about Republican hypocrisy. Now it's as if he has returned from the dead to remind us that the Republicans haven't changed and they still are not to be trusted.

Can anyone say "Twilight Zone"?

The Rickpublicans

I read a news article in this morning's paper about a new website called Rickpublicans, so I pulled it up to see what all the fuss was about. Actually, it's the Republicans who are doing the fussing. They are offended by Rickpublicans which tells me right up front that this website has accomplished something positive.

When you click on the link above you will see that a Rickpublican is: [rick-puhb-li-kuh´n] a noun -
1. Proper name for Florida Republicans wrought with greed and corruption who are hell-bent on selling out to the corporations and special interests while leaving Florida’s middle class families out-to-dry.

Personally, I can't understand what the Republicans are so upset about. That seems like perfectly descriptive name with a very proper definition.

Lillian Margaret: A Memoir - Chapter Five - Getting Settled In Atlanta

My first order of business was to purchase a trailer home. Father assisted me in selecting one and arranging for the financing. It was an American Trailer - one that had a "lived-in" atmosphere, but had not been abused. It was a one-bedroom job, with kitchen, living room, ample storage space and completely furnished. It was set up just a half-block downhill from where the folks were located.

Jon was enrolled in nursery school in Hapeville - only a few minutes ride on the bus from the trailer park. He was adjusting rather well to day care - there were fewer tears and less screaming when I left him for the day.

To find employment was my next move - Fort McPherson Army Base was the most convenient location, and it was my good fortune to be at the right place at the right time. I was assigned to the Typing-Steno Pool, which was not to my liking, but was given the assurance that it was only a temporary assignment.

An opening presented itself in the Personnel Actions Branch - typing efficiency ratings for Army Officers. Four of we gals worked desk to desk in this branch under the eagle eye of a civilian supervisor, who was "hell on wheels." When we stopped typing, for any reason, she immediately jumped to her feet to find out why! Every minute of the day was monitored - if we didn't return, on the dot, from breaks or lunch, she'd come after us. 

Her harassment was beginning to get me down, so I jotted down, in writing, all my grievances and requested transfer to another branch. This was directed to the Commanding Officer. For the next three months my life was really hell. I was called in to the Commanding Officer's office so many times I had a path worn in the rug. 

Little did I realize that one doesn't make waves against a supervisor - especially in writing - when she is held in high esteem by her superior officers. She was the one they called on to do all their research and leg work, and I was too dumb to see that badmouthing a person of her ingenuity would be my downfall - not hers. The situation that I found myself in was the most embarrassing and humiliating experience I'd ever had, and it was almost an impossibility to do justice to my work. My prestige was nil. I was just something to be tolerated, and the dust had barely settled when the Army Base had a RIF (reduction in force), and guess who was at the top of the list to be served with walking papers?

In accordance with Civil Service Regulations I could not be fired since I had certain seniority rights and my last efficiency rating was "satisfactory," so I was transferred to the Atlanta General Depot, near Conyers, Georgia - a supply base which had neither conveniences or workable office equipment at the disposal of their employees.

It wasn't all heartbreak at Fort McPherson - I met some fine people - especially one, Carolyn Crosby, a former WAC. We had great times together. We used to "brown-bag-it" everyday having our lunch in the Army Base picnic area where we were entertained with the piped-in music of the Third Army Band.

Realizing that I would get nowhere fast at the supply base, I wasted no time in contacting various agencies in the Federal Building at Peachtree and 7th Street. A very successful interview with the Farmers Home Administration (FHA), under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, led to an offer of a position as a Clerk Typist-File Clerk on a six-month temporary basis. At the end of that time, I was given permanent status, and at the persuasion of Mr. Van Landingham, Chief of the Farm Ownership Branch, I took a Civil Service Examination, passed, and became his secretary.

The Farmers Home Administration was one big happy family - the camaraderie even extended to the county office personnel throughout the State of Georgia. The Washington "wheels" also felt the warmth and cooperative spirit of the Georgia State Regional Office, and were frequent visitors. Seldom does one have many close friends in an office, but this was an unusual group of people. We respected and loved one another - we shared the workload equally - from the bosses on down. 

We often got together for outings, for weekends in the North Georgia Mountains and office parties. Our out-of-town conferences were not only informative but pleasurable. Four wonderful years were spent in the Farmers Home Administration, then due to a cutback in Department of Agriculture appropriations, FHA was reorganized and a reduction in force resulted. I was bumped from my job - offered a county office position at a lower grade and pay, but I chose to resign.

Pine Grove Trailer Park was undergoing many improvements - the new management was putting in concrete parking places so I had my trailer moved to a delightful spot, with the Garrisons on one side and the Lathrops on the other. Across the road from us were the Bordens, Weavers and AlIens. We called our street "Snob Hill." All were yankees except Beth Lathrop. We became very good friends and spent our spare time together - eating mostly - at picnics with cookouts and homemade ice cream socials. 

Howard Sanders was the trailer maintenance man - recently divorced - I was the only single woman in the crowd, so we sort of hobnobbed together with the "Snob Hill" gang. It was pleasant to have an escort and he was very fond of Jon.

Vivian Allen, my friend and neighbor at Pine Grove offered me a position as manager trainee in her office at the Modern Talking Picture Service. She was the present manager but was seeking a better opportunity. It was a small office - two of the gals had been employed there a long time and it fell to their lot to teach me the ropes. It wasn't a pleasant situation - a feeling of resentment was rearing its ugly head.

My stay in the talking picture service was short-lived as I realized the one thing I did not inherit from father was his leadership ability. It was obvious my interests didn't lean in the direction of the tremendous responsibility involved in supervisory and managerial work. 

Happily I returned to the Federal Government, accepting an appointment with the Department of Agriculture Marketing Service in the School Lunch Program Branch. How sweet it was to be back in the Peachtree-Seventh Building, having lunch and breaks with all my friends in FHA. 

Howard Sanders and I were still dating but he was coming on strong with plans to marry - father was appalled when I mentioned the idea to him - "I must be out of my mind to entertain such a thought; the man was so much older than I and he had nothing in the way of security to offer me!" Sanders was attentive, kind and considerate to both Jon and me, but marriage was the farthest from my mind. Within a month after my refusal, Sanders met and married a lady visiting in Atlanta from Minneapolis, Minn.

Look for Chapter Six November 2, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

America's Voice: What The Occupy Wall Street People Are Trying To Do!

My blogging friend, John Lambert, posted this on his blog America's Voice. I have never linked to anything before, but this is one of the best opinion pieces I have read in awhile. Click on the headline to read John's words.

La Pomme D'Amour

There is way too much fear and loathing going on in our nation and the world. Actually, any fear and loathing is too much, but the Oracle is going to take the day off from politics, damn Republicans, war, damn Republicans, idiots in the Florida Legislature, damn Republicans - whoops, I think I created a redundancy there. Oh, well.

La Pomme D'Amour (The Love Apple), the name the French adoringly gave the tomato in the 16th century has been making the news a bit lately, and that's where I will direct my attention today.

People have picketed local Publix stores over the low pay and poor working conditions of the farm laborers who pick the fruit for which Publix charges an arm and a leg.  Stories about women who gave birth to severely deformed children after being exposed to pesticides and chemicals in the tomato fields have been making the rounds, too.

For all of the hardships endured by the farm laborers and their families, not to mention the super high prices being charged for those love apples, what are we consumers getting for our money? Not much more than a hard, tasteless red ball. The reasons for this are fairly simple. The commercial growers pick the fruit before it has a chance to ripen naturally - while it is still green and hard. Also, cold can degrade tomato flavor, so tomatoes should be stored on your kitchen counter, where the temperatures are above 50° F (10° C), instead of in your refrigerator's crisper.

As far as cold storage is concerned, by the time you buy the tomato, it probably is too late. I was shopping at Publix the other day as the produce department was shelving a new batch of "vine ripe" tomatoes. Those tomatoes were already refrigerator cold. There was a double whammy of lost flavor - picking while green and refrigerating. This isn't even including all of the chemicals used to force the color change from green to red. If you were wondering why store-bought tomatoes and those served in most restaurants are so tasteless - well, now you know.

Just before sitting down at the keyboard I went out to the Oracle's garden and picked the first three of the fall crop of home grown tomatoes. For a couple of months now Publix can do as they please with their baseball-hard red globes. We will be enjoying our sweet, juicy, home-grown tomatoes along with our sincere apologies to the migrant farm workers we are putting out of work. I don't feel too bad about this as Rick the Prick Scott, the Florida goobernator, has 700,000 jobs waiting for them. Most any day now.

Is there a point to my ramblings here? No, not really. I think I am just gloating over being able to save some money on the family grocery bill while enjoying tasty home grown veggies. There is one thing of which I am jealous - those commercial growers about ten miles from here across the bay. They grow their tomatoes in the ground.

I unwillingly grow nematodes in the soil here in SOG City. Nematodes, for the uninformed, are those little wormy sons-a-bitches that attack and destroy (among other crops) tomato vines. To avoid the problem, I grow our tomatoes in pots with sterilized potting soil.

Which brings to mind - if you'd like to try a home grown tomato of your own: fill a three or so gallon pot with soil, plant a tomato seedling from the garden store, place the pot in a sunny location, sit in a comfy chair with a brewski in hand, and watch it grow. In no time at all your new drinking buddy should be pooping love apples.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Monday And I've Got Nothin', So...

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night 

Bob Hill and his new wife Betty were vacationing in Europe...as it happens, near Transylvania. They were driving in a rental car along a rather deserted highway. It was late and raining very hard. Bob could barely see the road in front of the car. Suddenly, the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to control the car, but to no avail! The car swerves and smashes into a tree.

Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog. Dazed, he looks over at the passenger seat and sees his wife unconscious, with her head bleeding! Despite the rain and unfamiliar countryside, Bob knows he has to get her medical assistance.

Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road. After a short while, he sees a light. He heads towards the light, which is coming from a large, old house. He approaches the door and knocks.

A minute passes. A small, hunched man opens the door. Bob immediately blurts, "Hello, my name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife Betty. We've been in a terrible accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?"

"I'm sorry," replied the hunchback, "but we don't have a phone. My master is a doctor; come in, and I will get him!"

Bob brings his wife in.

An older man comes down the stairs. "I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you. I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist. However, it is many miles to the nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training. I will see what I can do. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory."

With that, Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely. Igor places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

After a brief examination, Igor's master looks worried. "Things are serious, Igor. Prepare a transfusion." Igor and his master work feverishly, but to no avail. Bob and Betty Hill are no more.

The Hills' deaths upset Igor's master greatly. Wearily, he climbs the steps to his conservatory, which houses his grand piano. For it is here that he has always found solace. He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting melody fills the house.

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement, and he notices the fingers on Betty's hand twitch, keeping time to the haunting piano music. Stunned, he watches as Bob's arm begins to rise, marking the beat! He is further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight!

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory.

He bursts in and shouts to his master:

"Master, Master! ... The Hill's are alive with the sound of music!"

Happy Monday y'all from a demented old man with time on his hands.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Striding Against Breast Cancer

The Oracle joined Team Telovations in the Saturday Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Tampa. According to news reports there were over 10,000 participants in the Tampa walk. The walk began and ended at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Lydia and April - Team Telovations

I inquired of these two charming ladies, "Who did your hair?" Without missing a beat, "Walmart!"

And, they are off!

I haven't a clue, but he is in the pink.
We made it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Compared To What

Compared To What was recorded in 1969 by pianist Les McCann and saxophonist Eddie Harris for their album, Swiss Movement, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Crank up the dB's...this is a hell of a great jazz jam.

What's it about? It's about equality, dammit...

Compared To What?

I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin' on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin' up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is killin' hogs
Twisted children killin' frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin' logs
Tired old lady kissin' dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can't use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby now!

The President, he's got his war
Folks don't know just what it's for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We're chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin' to duck the wrath of God
Preacher's fillin' us with fright
They all tryin' to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can't use it!)
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

Where's that bee and where's that honey?
Where's my God and where's my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol' young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lillian Margaret: A Memoir - Chapter Four - Divorce, Marriage, Birth

The time arrived when both Lawrence and I felt we truly loved each other - we were compatible in every way, and were convinced our love and affection was deep enough to make a good marriage. As I really had no grounds for divorce, I persuaded Pat to initiate the proceedings, which he did reluctantly. Lawrence's divorce and mine became final about the same time. I resigned my position at Social Security and we were married in a private ceremony on St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1944, at the Drexel Park Presbyterian Church. We found a lovely apartment just a block from beautiful Lake Michigan in the South Shore Drive area. We spent our honeymoon selecting our furnishings and getting "settled in."

My actions brought shock and disappointment to my family. They all loved and respected Pat, and he was fond and considerate of them. Lawrence, on the other hand, had not won any points with my parents. His attitude was the less he saw of relatives (his or mine) the better he liked them!

As time passed, I became almost totally alienated from my relatives and friends - I was his possession and he was rude and ugly to all who deprived him of my time and attention. He was even jealous and hurt when my love and affection was shared between he and Jon (Mr. Chips), our beautiful red-haired son, who was born at Gardiner General Army Hospital on September 9, 1944. I am sure that Lawrence loved the babe, in his own way, and was proud of being a father for the first time, but it was such a new experience he didn't know how to cope with it.

The adjustment of having a baby around so late in life was a difficult one for both of us. Formulas, breast feedings in the middle of the night, sterilizing bottles and the whole bit occupied most of my time. It was obvious that Lawrence resented playing second fiddle.

To add to this dilemma, a few weeks after the birth of our son, Lawrence was dealt a crushing blow when the Army announced they were cutting back all officers over 45 years of age with 25 to 30 years of service. Within a few months Lawrence would be eligible for promotion to Lt. Colonel - instead he was caught in a reduction in force and discharged from active duty.

The Army was his life - he was a soldier to the core, and he was physically and mentally fit to handle his job. The psychological affect as a result of Lawrence's release from the Army was devastating. It takes years to build a good Army man but only one document that reads: "Honorably Discharged" to strip him of his dignity, self-respect, and love for his country and his fellow man.

From then on we were on the move. Jon was only six weeks old when we left Chicago and headed on down to Lawrence's home near Marietta, Georgia. It was in deplorable condition. It had been rented to employees of the Bell Bomber Plant in Marietta. The home had been abused, neglected and the filth was abominable. Bugs of every description had taken over. Screens had been knocked out and doors were just barely hanging on by their rusty hinges.

House in Marietta
The refurbishing was begun immediately starting with Mr. Chips' room - then the kitchen, our bedroom and living room. The storage room was enlarged and made into a bachelor apartment. It was rented to a man who worked in Marietta. Lawrence did an excellent renovation job on the house.

Jon at 4 months

In his spare time he worked in his shop where he refinished furniture, designed and built end tables and corner racks. We purchased some Rhode Island Reds, and the few that Lawrence neutered grew as large as turkeys. What a feast we had when we roasted one of these capons. A Rhode Island Red is an excellent egg producer - fortunate for us as we depended on eggs to supplement our diet since meat was rationed and in very short supply. My good neighbor, Mrs. Covington, was not only helpful in orienting me into Southern culture, but taught me how to prepare many meatless casseroles - Southern style.

My first Spring in the South was awe inspiring. In February the Crocus, Jonquils and Narcissus made their appearance. Then in rapid succession blooms appeared on the Flowering Quince, Red Bud, Crabapple, Pear, Peach and Dogwood Trees, and the beautiful Azaleas. Fairyland was never like this! Many species of birds frequented our feeder and bath, but the bird I was anxious to spot each day was the Red Bird - as it would bring one good luck, or so the local gentry informed me. Taking the Christmas Tree down before the 31st of December, and eating black-eyed peas on New Years' Day were other good luck omens I became familiar with.

The strain of FDR's long period of service with the heavy problems of the depression and war years had undoubtedly taxed the president's strength greatly. The nation, was not prepared, however, for the startling news of his sudden death at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945. Harry S. Truman was sworn in immediately as the new President of the United States.

The American people accepted Harry S. Truman on faith - they knew little about him, and knew it would be difficult to fill Mr. Roosevelt's shoes. Mr. Truman pledged himself to carry on the programs of the New Deal, and he had the good will of the entire country as he took up the job that had been thrust upon him, the heaviest burden on his shoulders being the war.

With the surrender of Germany on May 7, 1945, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American airmen in August 1945, and an ultimatum to Japan on August 14, 1945 spelling out "unconditional surrender or total destruction", a formal surrender occurred on the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. The war was over!

As in 1918, participation of the United States had meant the difference between victory and defeat - it was American production that won the war. This was a mechanized war, and we could manufacture the machines of destruction faster than anyone else. However, the direct cost of the war to the American people was well over the 300-billion mark, and the total cost - past, present and future may never be calculated. Our armed forces suffered more than a million casualties - killed, wounded, missing and imprisoned. But even with this vast cost in lives and fortune, the United States was more fortunate than the other great powers involved in the war - our cities were not destroyed.

It was obvious that something was gnawing at Lawrence - he was irritable - he was drinking heavily and was physically abusive. One day, to my surprise, he announced the work around the place was too much for him and he was putting the house up for sale. Within a few weeks we were on our way in a Zimmer Trailer - our destination was Walkerton, Indiana, the home of his mother. She owned and operated a Tourist Home on Route 6 about 80 miles southeast of Chicago.

Once you met Grandma Rector (and she despised being called "Grandma") of Dutch descent, one could understand what made Lawrence tick. If she and Lawrence had any affection for one another it did not manifest itself during our stay. She held people at arm's length - family included.

Years ago, when Lawrence was still in his teens, her husband, John, of French-English descent, was killed at a railroad crossing in Walkerton. Almost immediately after that tragedy, Lawrence left home to join the Army. She was left to make her own livelihood - which she did with her Tourist Home business, but with bitterness in her heart that life had dealt her such a cruel blow.

My first encounter with Grandma Rector was not love at first sight - she resented having us under foot, in spite of the fact that I assisted with the housework and the laundry and some of the upstairs work. We fixed our own meals and spent the night in our trailer, but it was plain to see we were excess baggage. We had to stay indoors a good bit because of the miserably cold March weather, and the only one eager to go outdoors was Jon - this was his first encounter with ice and snow and he loved it!

Gulf Coast Trailer Park
Soon we left that frigid area and headed for New Orleans. There was little doubt that we had arrived during the rainy season - it rained in torrents the two weeks of our stay. We pressed on - this time to Panama City, Florida, where we found trailer space at the Gulf Coast Trailer Park on St. Andrews Bay, within sight of the Wainwright Ship Yards and the Navy Base.

Jon loved the water - it was a battle each time he had to come out, and to keep him from straying down to the Bay by himself, I put him in a big galvanized washtub filled with water just outside the trailer. He would play in it for hours sailing everything within reach.

Lawrence purchased a small cabin cruiser - primarily to take out fishing parties in the Bay. We went trolling one day and caught a beautiful mess of trout - what delicious eating! The fishing party venture didn't materialize as Lawrence soon discovered the maintenance of a boat is prohibitive.

Wading in St. Andrews Bay
Now Lawrence was at loose ends again with nothing to occupy his time. He rarely drew a sober breath and we quarreled almost constantly over his drinking and his obnoxious behavior. Our lines of communication had completely collapsed. Finally he decided to leave and return to Walkerton, Indiana. A month or so later he was back again threatening to do me harm if I didn't take him back. It was necessary to call the police one night and have him put under a peace bond. This was the last straw - the saturation point had been reached and I refused to be subjected to this mental and physical cruelty any longer.

Jon and I left Panama City by train headed for Chicago where we stayed with my Aunt Helen and Uncle Bill for a few weeks. An ad in the paper offering room and board with child care was the first step in becoming established in Chicago. Mrs. Jack O'Donnell, (Aunty Jo) was about my age - married to a traveling man, and the parents of an adopted daughter, Bobby Jo. This little girl was one year older than Jon.

Our room was small but adequate in this two-story house at 2409 N. Fullerton Avenue. I took part-time jobs until an opening presented itself in the Social Security office downtown, which was only about fifteen minutes on the "L" to the near north side.

Lawrence arrived on the scene once more - he rented a room a few blocks away. He was passive and resigned to the fact that there was no way to resolve our differences. Occasionally, he'd take us to Sunday dinner and then to the Lincoln Park Zoo - Jon thoroughly enjoyed both. At least once a month Jon and I would board a train and spend the weekend with my parents on their farm in Crown Point, Ind.

On Sunday, the Neff family, my brother and his family would join us for a picnic. His son, Steve, was five days' older than Jon, and both boys would follow in their grandfather's footsteps while he fed the pigs and chickens.

Due to Aunty Jo's health and marital problems, we left the north side and found a room in a private home on the southeast side of Chicago - one block from the Illinois Central station and a nursery school. We had no cooking privileges but we could fix a little breakfast and an evening snack in our room.

The bitterly cold winters with snow and ice on the ground until almost April convinced me it was time to move south. If I could twist father's arm to sellout and head on down to the land of sunshine we could all travel together. The selling job wouldn't be easy as my folks' roots were deeply planted in the middle west. The day came though when father decided to unload the Indiana farm - not because he wanted to go south, but it was his thinking the climate might be better for mother's health.

He purchased a one-bedroom Colonial Mobile Home - it was a beauty - completely furnished with light oak furniture, with kitchen appliances, cabinets galore, and beautiful draperies and blinds at the windows. It had a bathroom too - about the size of a broom closet - but nevertheless it was a bathroom with shower.

It was no easy task for the little Chevy Coupe to pull a 3000-lb. trailer - there were some frightening moments as we traveled along. When we reached Sand Mountain in Alabama, the Chevy was too light to pull the load, and halfway up the car stalled. Several transit truck drivers saw our plight and combining forces they actually pushed the mobile home to the top of the mountain. This incident was too much for mother - she became deathly ill with a migraine headache - regretting with every breath the day she agreed to the move.

We arrived in Atlanta on a very warm afternoon in May 1948, just at the rush hour, inching our way along the Atlanta streets and finally locating a trailer court. It was the Pine Grove Trailer Park, located at 2310 Stewart Avenue (on a bus line).
Aerial view of the Pine Grove Trailer Park
It appeared to be a new park built on high rolling ground, nestled among many beautiful Georgia Pines. The folks selected a site directly across a narrow drive from the Utility House, which had toilet and shower facilities as well as washers and dryers. Although the folks planned to move on down to Florida, they agreed to stay in Atlanta long enough for me to get settled.


Editor's note: Look for Chapter Five next Wednesday the 26th.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GOP Presidential Debates

The Oracle was distressed to learn today that the Goobers On Parade have so far only had eight presidential debates. Did you know there are still twelve more to go? Neither did I, but this realization begs the question, what more do these clowns have to talk about? Besides which, the field of idiots has pretty much been whittled down to just two contenders, Cain and Romney.

I have no intention of watching the continuing debates. The blathering of imbeciles lost its appeal after the first couple of minutes of the first debate, but as a service to Oracle readers who may have considered viewing the upcoming debates I will present a condensed version of all remaining episodes of this Republican circle jerk:

"Blah, blah, blah. Lop some boogie. Obama's a Socialist. 9-9-9. An upside down 6-6-6. Man! Duh. Obama's a poop-head. Blah, blah, blah. In Texas we... Lop some boogie. 9-9-9. Blah, blah, blah. Lop some boogie. Obama's an asshole. Blah, blah, blah. Obama sucks. Duh. Lop some boogie. Romney worships Satan. Blah, blah, blah. Drill. Duh. Repeal DADT. 9-9-9. A commie from Kenya. 9-9-9. WORD! Blah, blah, blah. Lop some boogie. Obama kills jobs. Duh. ...fry'em all. Blah, blah, blah. Pizza. Thank you."

There! Instead of wasting many hours of your life on the debates, you have wasted but 30 seconds or so on the condensed version and you have gained the same amount of insight. Now, go forth in 2012 and vote Democrat. Rid Congress of those who bow down at the altar of stupidity.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Obama: Hispanic Support Slipping

It is understandable that many people in this country are hurting and are scared over a faltering economy and a lack of jobs, but to be scared stupid is only going to make matters worse. A recent article in the St. Pete Times alluded to the slipping support Obama is feeling from within the Hispanic community, a major player in Florida during the 2008 election.

Manuel Santiago, a part-time pizza delivery driver stated, "I'm already at the point where I don't know if I can give him [Obama] more time." More time? Barring catastrophic circumstances, Obama will finish this term, so I have to assume that Santiago is referring to the 2012 elections. What then? Vote for a Republican? These are the very people who are holding our country back by refusing to do anything beyond destroying Obama.

If the Republican party gave a rat's ass about anything other than shooting Obama down in flames, they would be doing it already. The Republican party of old would be working for the betterment of all Americans. Remember the G.O.P. - the Government of the People? What happened to them? Apparently, they joined Elvis and "have left the building".

Another Hispanic voter uttered the epitome of stupid statements, "I am not going to vote at all." By not voting at all, this person intends to hand the presidency to The Party of No, as in "no idea what we are doing, so we will revert to the glory days of the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, and Rove dynasty". Give me a break! That is how we got into the mess Obama is trying to deal with today.

Edwin Soto Jr. of Tampa, an unemployed master's degree holder suggested that he is now looking to the Republicans for help [getting a job]. Lot's of luck on that Master Soto. For those keeping up with current events, there is a jobs bill floating around that Obama is trying to get passed. The President thinks that this bill would be beneficial to the country and her people. The Republicans could give a rat's ass.

If the Republicans cared at all about anything other than demonizing and obliterating Obama they would sign on to the jobs bill and give it a "test drive". To use an automobile analogy, drive it around the block to see whether it's a lemon or not. If it proves to be a clunker, then the Republicans have a real case against Obama and his policies. Of course, if it is not a lemon then all the Republicans would have done is helped America - and, that would never do!

So, to all Americans, I implore you not to be scared stupid. Obama didn't get us into this mess. Remember who did and ask yourselves, "Do I want to give the Republicans another chance to do it to us again?"

As King George the Bush so eloquently put it:

''You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.''

Saturday, October 15, 2011

American Jobs For Brazillions

The Oracle was blessed to receive an audio transcript that we were assured came from the office of GOP Presidential Wannabe Perry announcing his plan for creating jobs for one and a half brazillion people. Perry's office didn't know how many a brazillion is either, but said it sounded like a lot.

Unfortunately, the Oracle has no method of attaching the audio file, so we were forced to hand transcribe Perry's utterances, word for word as best as we could make them out:

The other Rick with a P, Perry has announced that, "...eff'n ah is elecked in November 2012 ah will sign a series of executive o'ders in th' fust 100 days of mah administrashun t'roll back federal regulashuns an' open up mo'e areas fo' oil an' gas splorashun."

Perry went on to say that he, "...doesn't give a tinker's dadburn as t'whether varmints haf clean air o' clean water, thet Commie-pinko Invironment Proteckshun Ajuncy trash haf gotta hoof it on account o' they is fuckin' up mah money makin' oil drillin' projecks."

"We is stan'in' atop th' next Amurican economic boom -- inergy," Perry said, "Cuss it all t' tarnation, th' quickess way t'give our economah a shot in th' arm is t'deploy Amurican inginuity t'tap Amurican inergy. But we kin only does thet eff'n invironmental bureaucrats is told t'stan' down, as enny fool kin plainly see."

The Texas Goobernator sprinkled his remarks with a harsh denunciation of Democratic President Barack Obama, who he said is responsible for "ackivist regulashuns" that have made it more difficult to extract energy resources. Perry took a swipe at Obama because the President has favored green technologies that are not producing as much green for the wealthy elite as the wealthy feel they have coming to them.

"An', God knows we all be hankerin' th' wealthy t'git ev'rythin' they haf a-comin' t'them, dawgone it. Do ah hear an Amen brothers an' sisters?"

"His inergy policies is driven by th' concerns of ackivists in his party, mah policies is driven by corncerns thet Amurican wawkers wifout jobs is doin' nothin' t'put mo'e money in mah pockets," Perry said, while cussing it all to tarnation.

The Obama re-election campaign reacted quickly.

"Governor Perry's energy policy isn't the way to win the future, it's straight out of the past - doubling down on finite resources with no plan to promote innovation or to transition the nation to a clean energy economy," said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

A Blast From The Past

Three Brazilian Soldiers

Donald Rumsfeld is giving President Bush his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, Bush looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scott Lays Out His Agenda: Then And Now

In 2010, after buying the state of Florida, Rick the Prick Scott spoke to a group of Florida business leaders, who Scott needed to help him deliver on a promise of creating 700,000 new jobs in 7 years. I am going to highlight excerpts from that speech and compare the "then" and the "now".

Like my predecessors in the Governor’s Office, I consider the Council of 100 a unique resource for advice and support, and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you as I begin putting my plan for Florida into place. - Scott has consistently shown that he rejects the advice from any knowledgeable source, preferring to do it his way, regardless of the consequences. Teachers, prison workers, food stamp recipients, doctors - are plastering him with lawsuits.

We expect to be held accountable for what we do. - But, Scott and his team disavow accountability for any of their actions.

The State of Florida is like a lot of companies. It is meant to be bled dry for the benefit of the CEO and special interest group supporters?

In 1875, a man named William D. Kelly visited Florida and wrote about his visit. He asked Floridians what they did for a living, and he was told, "We sell atmosphere." Today, of course, we sell lots of things. - Such as a bill of goods to those Floridians who actually believed that Scott would deliver on his campaign promises.

I have a seven step plan to create 700,000 jobs in 7 years. - "The bottom line is, I could argue that I don't have to create any jobs." Scott made that statement yesterday on 540-AM Radio in Maitland. 

I was elected to create jobs and that I am focused on doing what it takes to create jobs. - "After days of back tracking on his 700,000 jobs pledge, Scott now claims he doesn't have to create any jobs at all," Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Brannon Jordan said.

Tallahassee is about to discover what it’s like to have a Governor who is totally FOCUSED on a goal. - Starting when? Scott certainly has lost his focus on the jobs creation promise.

We can certainly reduce the state workforce by 5% without affecting the quality of service delivered. - "I just have to make sure we don't lose jobs."

[W]e need to cut taxes. To reduce our property tax and eliminate the corporate tax. - Fewer business taxes, new toll roads [...] are among the goals Scott set Wednesday for his second year in office. What wasn't mentioned in this new Scott plan is that toll roads are a tax on millions of Floridians who use those roads daily to get to and from work.

Let’s get to work. - Jobs lost under Pink Slip Rick Scott: 331247 and counting.

Takin' It To The Streets

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it." ~ George Santayana.

And, so it is in America today.

For those who may have read about the French Revolution, you will recall a few of the reasons the French people took to the streets in protest:
  • Economic factors included hunger and malnutrition in the most destitute segments of the population, due to rising bread prices, and being admonished to "eat cake". Last year, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty - the highest total since record keeping began more than half a century ago.
  • Another cause was the state's effective bankruptcy due to the enormous cost of previous wars, particularly the financial strain caused by French participation in the American Revolutionary War. Today in America we are financially burdened by the cost of two unfunded wars. In France, the social burdens caused by war included the huge war debt. 
  • France's inefficient and antiquated financial system was unable to manage the national debt, something which was both partially caused and exacerbated by the burden of an inadequate system of taxation. In today's America, Congress is unable or unwilling to manage the national debt. A full 67% of Americans favor a deal that includes taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University. Like the French aristocracy, the Republican Party refuses to listen to the people demanding a more equitable system of taxation.
  • The royal court at Versailles was seen as being isolated from, and indifferent to, the hardships of the lower classes. King Louis XVI was an absolute monarch, but he was often indecisive and known to back down when faced with strong opposition. While he did reduce government expenditures, opponents in the Parliament successfully thwarted his attempts at enacting much needed reforms. If that doesn't sound familiar to you, then you have been living on another planet.
On July 14, 1789 the French people stormed the Bastille. On September 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street began. By October 9, 2011 similar demonstrations had been held or were ongoing in over 70 cities. The French aristocracy, like the Republican party and the Wall Street bankers, failed to take the protesters seriously - until heads began to roll.

The Republicans as well as the Democrats need to listen to the people - all of the people and not just the special interest groups. The Tea Baggers just need to sit down and shut up!

Today, we are seeing democracy in action with Americans "takin' it to the streets".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Florida: PLEASE, Sit Down And Shut Up

For a number of years now, Florida has been striving to out-crazy California. I think the state's efforts can be classified as a raging success. Allow me to cite a few examples in no particular order.

Florida has allowed a liar and crook to buy the state - Chief Executive Orifice, Rick with a P, Scott.

One of Scott's first decisions was to reject billions of Federal dollars for high speed rail - dollars that other states were overjoyed to accept.

Throughout recorded Florida history beginning in the 1500's (near the start of Rick Perry's American Revolution), animals in the state could be used for, among other things, man's sexual gratification. Having failed to pass any meaningful legislation in recent years, the Florida Legislature decided at long last to make bestiality illegal, and can now claim they actually did something.

Pigs are especially blessed in our state. Not only do they benefit from the above mentioned law, but the Florida Legislature amended the state Constitution favoring the female of the species. This is the Pregnant Pig Amendment. I believe Florida is the only state to recognize pigs in the Constitution.

It's a foregone conclusion that anytime a Florida Republican, state or Federal, opens their mouth that something ridiculous will emanate from this cavern of inanity. As a consequence, it would be a monumental task to list all occurrences in a short space, but allow me to amaze you with the latest.

Senator Jim Norman (R-Tampa) recently introduced SB 1246 in the state Senate which makes it a felony of the first degree for anyone who takes pictures of a pig pen. Do you sense a trend developing here? By the way, murder and kidnapping fall into the same felonious category.

The Florida legislature recently passed House Bill 1355, the voter suppression bill, a solution in search of a problem. Florida House Bill 1355 would mean fewer state residents, especially the most vulnerable, would have their voices heard in local, state and national debates. So much for the 15th, 19th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, 'cause them there Amendments don't say nothin' about pigs, and we'uns in Florida loves our pigs.

Here is the most recent reason why Florida should just sit down and shut up to avoid embarrassing itself any further:

After dining at a local Waffle House, Representative Brad Drake, a Republican (goes without saying) from the Panhandle town of Eucheeanna, filed legislation to introduce firing squads to Florida's death row. Said Drake, "I say let's end the [capital punishment] debate. We still have 'Old Sparky.' And if that doesn't suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45-caliber lead cocktail instead." Drake wasn't through yet, "There shouldn't be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me, we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it." (Note to self: Eschew eating at Waffle House, any of them)

Drake didn't mention anything about a trial, fair or otherwise, before feeding the accused to the fishes. If that carpetbagger prick with ears in Tallahassee ever questions why major corporations aren't flocking to Florida in droves, then he needs to look at the douche bags Florida has put in the Legislature.


Editor's note: I grew up in the Florida Panhandle and never heard of Eucheeanna. There is such a place, though, in Walton County. About this alternate reality village, Google responded with, "Eucheeanna, the first Scottish settlement in territorial Florida, was named in honor of the Euchee Indians. Tradition holds that the first slave child was born in the settlement."

Additional note to self: Eschew vacation in Eucheeanna.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lillian Margaret: A Memoir - Chapter Three - A Wedding

Calvin Coolidge continued his predecessor's efforts to get the country back to normal after the war, and even though he stressed economy, the country was riding on the wave of prosperity. The mannerisms of people and their mode of dress were drastically influenced by the changing times. One who deplored society's lack of manners was Emily Post who not only published one book on Etiquette and Good Manners, but two, in this decade.
Lillian Margaret circa 1929

Fashions for women were, for the most part, dictated by the glamorous Hollywood stars. One such star was Clara Bow, known as the "It" girl. She wore her hair very short - her mouth was made up in a cupid's bow, and rouge adorned her cheeks and knees. Her skirt was at a length which gave one more than a glimpse of her silk stockings rolled above her knees. A one-piece garment called a Teddy was worn underneath this skimpy attire. The Charleston was the popular dance of the hour, and although the music was basically the same, everyone danced their own version of it. It was not a "togetherness" dance, to be sure.

An opportunity for advancement presented itself in the downtown office of the Wabash Railway where I obtained a position as a stenographer-typist. Gen McGrath, a secretary there, and I not only became good friends but we learned that many years ago our fathers had worked together in the switch yards for the Wabash Railway, and they too were good friends. Gen was an attractive brunette - a most likable gal, and her warm, friendly way was only exceeded by her Irish wit. She was instrumental in changing my country bumpkin manner and appearance to a stylishly groomed, well poised, confident young lady.

Since Coolidge "did not choose to run" in the next election, the Republicans selected Herbert C. Hoover, the Secretary of Commerce for President. Alfred E. Smith, a product of the Tammany Hall machine of New York, and a Catholic, was nominated by the Democrats, but he came out strong against the Prohibition Amendment (the 18th) and many Democrats who were "drys" voted against him - thus Hoover won by a landslide over Smith.

Although Hoover came to the White House under very favorable conditions, this situation would change shortly as a result of the stock market crash of 1929. Banks were failing - others closed to protect themselves against "runs". Suicides of Wall Street bankers made glaring headlines almost daily in our newspapers. The future of our country was one of pessimism; people looked to the government for help, but it had no plan for such an emergency, and Hoover was not able to come up with one. Father lost his savings in one bank, and for a time it looked as though he might lose his job.

On September 6, 1930 at 4:00 p.m., Pat and I were married at Thoburn Methodist Church. A reception was held at the Church for family and a few close friends.

Late that evening found us in a rustic cabin in the backwoods of Muskegon, Michigan. This shack was ours for a whole week. Our "modern" conveniences included: kerosene lamps for lighting, a fireplace for heating, coal stove for cooking, hand pump in the yard for water, and a two-holer fifty feet from the cabin equipped with a Sears Catalog.

To say the "wedding night" was a fiasco would be the understatement of all times - I was as frigid as the inside of that cabin. The next morning didn't improve my temperament or attitude as we had to build fires, sweep the kitchen, wash pots, pans and dishes before we could even start the breakfast. It was my first experience cooking on a coal stove - in fact, the thought of cooking and doing household chores at all on my honeymoon was revolting. We were miles from nowhere. There were no neighbors in the area as most of the cabins had already been boarded up for the winter. The only sign of life was a big ole friendly hound dog that I called "Sam." After four days of pioneering, I threw in the towel and we headed for home.

Pat was very fond of children and was hopeful we would soon be blessed. My thought on the subject was "no dirty diapers and runny noses for me." It had been my responsibility over the years to look after my bratty brother and I wasn't going to be saddled with brats of my own.

My days were busily occupied with homemaking, Woman's Club work, bridge, teas, Red Cross work, etc., but I soon tired of all this, and much to Pat's dismay, I obtained a part time job - then later worked full time at the B. F. Goodrich Tire & Rubber Company. For a short time I worked in the Steno Pool, and also relieved on the two-position switchboard; then the Budget Division opened up and I was promoted to Secretary to Bill Badenhof, the Budget Supervisor. He was young and handsome - was blonde with light blue eyes and had a smile that would melt your heart. We hit it off immediately.

Bill and his men traveled at least four days out of the week selling tires and other automobile and truck products to dealers in five mid-western states. The workload became so heavy that Bill hired another gal. Lorraine Baumann was a young, attractive brunette very conscientious and eager to learn - a real asset in our budget family.

Girls from the office - Lorraine 4th from right

Bill was married to Martha and after seven years of marriage, a little girl blessed their home. He idolized his "little princess" and she was a carbon copy of her daddy: blonde curly hair, light blue eyes and a charming smile. His wife was very unhappy that Bill had to spend so much time on the road, and their marriage began to sour. Martha issued an ultimatum to the effect that "either he obtain a job closer to home •••• or else." After that, Bill was in travel status for longer periods of time. When he did report in to the office we were "snowed" with travel vouchers, reports and dictation; and frequently when he felt the need of a good "sounding board" or a shoulder to cry on, he'd ask me to have dinner with him.

Spending an evening with Bill dining, dancing and laughing together was more therapeutic for me, I believe, than it was for him. He was never at a loss for words, and had a great sense of humor. Would that we had more Bill Badenhofs in this world!

My association with Goodrich came to an end when an opportunity for promotion presented itself to Bill and he transferred to the Goodrich office in Minneapolis, Minn. When his successor took hold of the reins, it was inevitable that sooner or later we would be on a collision course, so I resigned.

Once again I was at loose ends and the idea of travel appealed to me, but when I announced to Pat that I intended to take a trip by myself he was stunned to think I'd even entertain the thought of separate vacations. My mind was made up and away I went on a "Go As You Please" tour to Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston. This was the first tour I had ever taken and it was a glorious experience.

Pat decided he would take his vacation too. He arrived home from his trip in Northern Michigan two days after my return. He confessed that he had met a gal in Traverse City, Michigan - she was a Monogram Demonstrator, and her job was to machine monogram bath towels, hand towels, linens, etc. When she came down to Chicago for demonstration work at one of the large department stores he dated her again. It was apparent that Pat was very fond of her, but he had an overwhelming sense of guilt and evidently thought it wisdom to break off any further relationship.

The events of the past few months had not put our marriage on a plane of solidarity, to be sure. Nevertheless, we moved to a new garret apartment located in the neighborhood where I resided as a little girl. Pat was still working a lot of overtime at Link Belt (formerly H.W. Caldwell & Co.) so I found some part time work downtown and occasionally would meet my good friend, Gen McGrath for cocktails and dinner.

In the decade of the 30's, the grim reaper claimed the lives of my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather Freund, and my Paternal Grandmother Albee. It seems that when one reaches the age of maturity and appreciation for one's elders, they are gone.

The overwhelming vote of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a democrat, over Hoover was in essence a desire for change - any change - as the public had lost faith in Hoover's leadership. After FDR's takeeover, one of his first moves was to close all banks in the country until after an investigation could be made of their financial stability. If audits indicated them to be on shaky ground, they did not open again. A plan was inaugurated to insure deposits to prevent further "runs" on banks.

During FDR's administration, so many agencies and bureaus were created they were commonly called the alphabetical agencies. A depository was built at Ft. Knox, and literally billions of dollars worth of gold bullion, serving as a basis of value for our money, was stored in the underground vaults. The majority of the Acts, including the Social Security Act passed by Congress under FDR's ("New Deal") were intended to meet the immediate situations of the national emergency.

President Roosevelt was unanimously nominated and won a second term, promising to continue what he had been doing; and when in 1940 he won again for a third term, the tradition of only two terms for any president was broken. Four years later it was FDR again for a fourth term with Harry S. Truman of Missouri as his running mate.

My brother's friends were mostly from the Cedar Lake/Crown Point, Indiana area, so it came as no surprise when Harold announced he and Neva Alexander were planning to be married on September 1, 1939. Neva was one of eight children and lived with her family on a farm in Crown Point, Indiana. When the Alexanders (two sisters and six brothers) tuned up their musical instruments, it was truly a jam session.

With less than two weeks' notice, my father was released from his position in 1940 after fifteen years of service at Strauss & Schram, a Mail Order House. The layoff was due to the reorganiization of the company, and the new policy of the firm to hire younger men. After months of pounding the pavement looking for work, father obtained a WPA job in the war plant of the Pullman Company in Hammond, Indiana.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was one of the alphabet agencies set up by President Roosevelt to provide jobs for the people on the home front. His next job a few months later was Traffic Dispatcher with the TransAmerican Trucking Company in Detroit, Michigan. My parents' stay there was short-lived, and upon their return to the midwest they purchased some farm acreage in Crown Point, Indiana, on which a home was built, in addition to out-buildings to house 1000 White Leghorn Chickens, and a few pigs. A black Cocker Spaniel puppy was later added to the menagerie.

In spite of the fact that President Roosevelt assured American Mothers "that your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars", our security bases were being pushed farther and farther toward Europe and Asia; and as the war went on in Europe, our participation became greater all in the name of defense. Munitions and other war supplies were sent to countries at war with the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan). FDR argued that the best way to keep out of war was to help other countries defeat the Axis Powers by making this country "an arsenal of democracy."

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a state of war was declared on Japan, then on Germany and Italy, and soon most of the nations of the world were drawn into the war either in Europe or Asia.

Major Lawrence Rector came to live with his cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Darche, who happened to be our landlords. Major Rector was a Personnel Officer stationed at 6th Army Headquarters in downtown Chicago. With Pat working overtime almost every night, the Darches invited me down one evening to meet their cousin, and thereafter we all spent many pleasant evenings trying to solve world problems, etc.

Several months after Major Rector arrived in town, he urged his wife to visit him in Chicago, ultimately hoping she would consent to stay for the duration of his tour. Mrs. R., however, not only disliked Yankeeland, but stated in no uncertain terms that she had no intentions of leaving her position in Atlanta, or abandoning her native State of Georgia even on a temporary basis.

It was an ambition of mine for some time to get into Federal Government work, so during the summer of 1942 I passed a ClerkTypist examination and was offered a position in the downtown office of the Social Security Board. It was great fun working in the loop - meeting Gen McGrath Friestadt for lunch occasionally and window shopping in the large department stores.

I had become totally disenchanted with my married life, and as far as I was concerned it was just a sham. I knew that Pat would not make a move no matter how unhappy he was, so one day I checked out bag and baggage into a small furnished apartment conveniently located to the Illinois Central (I.C.) commuter train station. During the rush hours the I.C. made it to town in thirty minutes. Although Pat was sad and disheartened over the break he would take me to dinner about once a week, and we continued on this basis for awhile. It didn't resolve anything or rekindle any flames, if that was the purpose of his gesture.

Major Rector called me one evening, and on our first date we attended an Officers' Banquet and Dance at one of the downtown hotels. Major Wayne King (who worked in Personnel with Major Rector) and his Orchestra entertained with his beautiful waltz music.
 We dined together frequently after that, and wherever we went we were "favored" with the best seats in the house. Lawrence made an impressive Army Officer - and, I must confess, a man in uniform could always turn my head! He was an excellent cook too, and although my kitchen wasn't much larger than a breadbox, he prepared dinners fit for a king!


Editor's note: Adding the Wayne King video clip was my idea. Look for Chapter Four October 19.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Florida Blogs And On-line Activists

This is just a reminder that you have but ten more days to vote for your favorite Florida blogs and on-line activists on the left in Florida. All of the 2011 Florida Netroots Award nominees are Florida-based and they can’t be Republicans, Libertarians or Tea Party activists.

There are 26 categories. You can peruse them all and vote by clicking on the link below:

There are many very worthy bloggers and activists from which to choose. Two of the Oracle's favorite bloggers are The Ybor City Stogie in category 3, Best Local Blog, and Re/Creating Tampa in category 20, Best On-going Series.

You might also notice a couple of interesting choices in categories 1 and 15.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Violence In The Name Of Religion

Violence has returned to Egypt. According to a recent news report the Coptic Christians and the Muslims are having another go at each other. This is nothing new of course since history is awash with stories of violence and death in the name of one religion or another. It could be argued that Christianity is one of the worst.

When I read that news story from Egypt, John Lennon's (by the way, happy belated birthday) song Imagine came to mind.


Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

I found the following graphic on ReligiousWar.org to be most telling. The text below the graphic is more than a bit disturbing since I do not advocate killing those that you disagree with. On the other hand, if those who practice the various religions are intent on doing themselves in then I agree - hurry up and get it over with so, as Lennon suggested, we can give peace a chance.

Let the chaos begin!

Please kill each other soon, so we can have our planet back.



I will close with Robert Pirsig's statement from Lila, "[W]hen one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion".