Tag Archives: HUMAN INTEREST

Capt. Rambo the Cape Crusader!

This story came out of a chain of events. On Facebook, several of us were talking about the late Mac Wiseman and how his voice was so unique and that led me to think about Texas songwriter Guy Clark, who also had a unique and warm voice. I then went to YouTube and came upon a video of Clark singing “The Cape.” The lyrics of Clark’s song brought back a memory of Tom Rambo and several of us neighborhood kids reenacting something we’d seen in a movie serial.

There was a Saturday matinee serial featuring some guys who flew around in phony looking spaceships wearing something that resembled a two-gallon bucket on their heads and capes that attached to their necks and ran down their backs attaching to the wrists and ankles. When they saw something bad happening on the ground they zoom down in their rocket, open the side door, and leap into the air with their arms and legs spread out akin to a flying squirrel. They’d then swoop onto the bad guys, subdue them, and save the day.

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Amish Reality; There’s Just No Shortage of Ignorance

A fellow I know solicited input on Facebook about area builders who do pole barns. Several suggested contractors were named and I suggested a local Amish contractor who I know to be hardworking, honest, and dependable.

The very next response was from a person claiming that, “the amish [sic] charge double of what anyone else would. And the money you pay them doesnt [sic] go back into our infrustructure [sic]. So keep that in mind when you hit a pothole on your way to work.” The next post after that was, “…sometimes they are cheaper because alot [sic] of them have 10-12 year old working and they don’t pay workers comp insurance or into social security. And they fill up the waiting rooms everywhere they are offering free health services eye exams or dental care.”

Several things immediately came to mind. First, neither have mastered basic punctuation, spelling, and the rules for capitalization. Secondly, both are obviously prejudiced and biased against the Amish and I’ll assume the Mennonites as well. And lastly, they are both just plain ignorant of reality.
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Which Company is Your Favorite & Not so Favorite?

I recently received a news feed that I found interesting. Not important, just interesting. The Axios-Harris Poll did a study of what companies are preferred most by Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

For example, Democrats for whatever reasons prefer buying products made by Kraft-Heinz while the favorite GOP product is Chick-fil-A. I can only suppose that the John Kerry connection to Heinz explains the Democratic choice and the Chick’s opposition to all things same-sex draws the loyalty of the moral high ground crowd.

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Talking Black in America

Over the weekend my wife and I watched a PBS special titled, Talking Black in America. It dealt with the untold number of African American dialects spoken in America and how it all came to be. I was especially impressed with how important language is in black history and culture and how versatile many are in switching back and forth between standard-English and African American English.

It reminded me of a time I was in a fast food line near the Mexican border and how the clerk had was so adept at switching between English and Spanish. My brain has never been that flexible.

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The Olde Barbershop of Yore!

For some reason, I got to thinking about old barbershops while washing my hair this morning. When I was a kid the thing was to wash your hair and then splash on a ton of hair oil or tonic before combing. When you got a haircut the barber did the same. Before running a comb through your hair he’d splash on a generous dose of some very sweet smelling oil.  The wet head certainly wasn’t dead in the 1950s.

One fad during that era was the flattop and it too had its own petroleum-based product, Butch Wax. The barber would meticulously get your top hairs short and level and then to hold it all upright, in defiance of gravity, he’d slap on a large glob of some gooey gel that your mother would play hell getting washed out of the pillowcases.
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Interesting Bits of News

  1. Seventy-six percent of registered voters support the wealthiest Americans paying more taxes, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll. This largely jives with a Fox News poll that showed 70 percent in favor of increased taxes on those earning more than $10 million. The polls come as 2020 contenders put forward and debate new levies on the rich. [Politico]
  2. In addition to his acting chief of staff, attorney general, defense secretary, interior secretary, Office of Management and Budget director and Environmental Protection Agency chief, only 54 percent of President Trump’s civilian executive branch nominations have been confirmed, according to estimates by the Partnership for Public Service. That compares, for example, to 77 percent for President Barack Obama at a similar point in his presidency. The group also estimates that fewer than half of the key positions in the Labor, Justice and Interior departments are filled. [The Washington Post]
  3. In New Orleans, home of the robbed Saints, the front page of The Times-Picayune on Monday consisted only of five words: “Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?” [Huffington Post]

Mama Chapman’s Pies, The Bad & Good

Just about everyone has a story about their grandmother’s pies. Well, I’m no different and story-wise, I’m lucky enough to have two.

My grandmother Chapman was known to adults as Mrs. Annie and to us kids as Mama. She lived in Greenville, SC and during several summers I’d got a chance to stay with her for a week. She was a stereotypical looking grandma of the Granny Clampett style. She was very loving and kind with only two faults. One was her fervent fundamental Pentecostal religion and the other her firmly held, but mistaken, belief that my favorite pie was her version of lemon meringue.

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Threre’s One Under Every Rock!

Back in 2004, I was in the Big Bend area of SW Texas. That area is about as unwelcoming as a place as is yet it has a kind of beauty unlike anything found here in Southern Ohio. I was watching a video taken from the veranda of an old abandoned ghost town mansion that was being used as a two-room B&B. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular and even during the day, the light changes the color and shapes of the hills and canyons. Every day is different as is every moment of every day. Except for the heat that veranda would be a wonderful place to sip a cold one and watch it all unfold.

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More Signs of Getting Old

When my clock landed on seventy  I began taking note of what being a senior citizen involved. Like all phases of my life, I see this one as just another chapter in the book. I’ve pretty much accepted each chapter and enjoyed turning the pages. I think my only fear is still having a life while having no quality of life. But in the meanwhile, here’s a few of the aging thing I noticed most recently.

  • I’ve always loved to travel but in the past year or so, I’ve not been willing to venture too far from my family doctor and the medical community I’m familiar with.  Even twenty years younger I didn’t want to get too far from a Walmart and a hospital. On two Florida fishing trips, I ended up in an ER and had to get back home under adverse conditions, including a severely broken shoulder. These days going to Columbus may be too far.
  • For much of my life, I’ve heard warnings that young children and the elderly should take certain precautions such as, be sure to get your flu shot, pneumonia can be deadly for geezers so be sure to get your pneumonia shot, or colon cancer is the silent killer so with a smile say  “I’d love it”  when a proctologist asks to shove a ten-foot rubber hose up your butt.
  • A sure sign of old age and one that slowly creeps up on you is losing most connections to popular culture. Just watch the Grammy Awards or sit around listening to your grandchildren talk about what they’re doing for entertainment. You know you’re old when it all sounds like Swahili.
  • Somewhere along life’s journey waitresses and nurses began calling me honey or sweety. I’m probably on the same page with Andy Rooney with that one. Look girly, my name is Larry or Mr. Chapman. Hell, I’d even be okay with gramps.
  • One I do enjoy is having young people hold doors open for me and calling me sir. If I could only get them to salute as I pass by.

Am I Being too Politically Correct?

On January 7, 2019, a Michigan family, returning from a Florida vacation, was struck by a drunk driver, driving in the wrong direction on I-75 in Kentucky. The parents and their three children were killed in a fiery head-on collision.

I first became aware of this tragedy while watching the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. What caught my attention was at the end of the story Holt identified the victims as a Muslim family from Michigan. I had to ask, why was their religion important or germane to the story? He would have never said five Catholics or five Methodists died in the wreck.  Why mention that these people were Muslim and what does it say?

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The Almost Lost Art of Bent Willow Furniture

Back in the ’50s, it was quite common to see bent willow furniture sitting on people’s porches and patios. A childhood friend had two chairs on their porch and I always loved sitting in them. They were handmade by an older man who lived in a small shack along a nearby creek. The creek and surrounding wetlands gave him all the raw materials he needed.

He would build single chairs as well as couches and side tables. The fellow didn’t have a car or truck so he pushed a large two-wheeled cart loaded with his furniture up and down the village streets peddling his wares. On days he didn’t have furniture to sell he would push his cart around town hauling away people’s scrap metals and newspapers.

I believe the only piece of willow furniture we ever had was a small child’s rocking chair that one of our daughters used for her children.

Several years ago I was driving through the Florida Panhandle and came upon a large pickup truck with a cab-over rack. The vehicle was heavily loaded with beautiful bent willow furniture. I don’t know where they were from or where they were going but I sure wish I’d chased them down and brought a couple of chairs home.

It’s been a long time since I gave the subject any thought but today I came across a video of a young man in Kentucky who’s keeping the craft alive. If I wasn’t so damned old now I’d look the guy up and place an order. I’ll post the video below and hopefully, this will bring back some pleasant memories for you.

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Looking Back and Asking Questions

Recently my wife and I were watching a TV segment about a child with extreme emotional problems and was a genuine threat to his siblings. It was part of a piece about the shortage of psychiatric hospital beds for children in America. When the piece was over we put the TV on pause and began talking about our youth in the 1950s.

Neither of us could recall any examples of such children in our small hometown. Our local hospital was nothing more than a large two-story house and our doctors carried most of what they needed in leather bags and regularly made house calls. Few people knew what a pediatrician or psychiatrist was.

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12 Minutes, 3 Seconds

Today mark’s the official opening of the 2018 hurricane season and the American territory of Puerto Rico, and its millions of American citizens, is ill prepared for the arrival the hurricane that will most surely pay them a visit this summer. The island is far from recovering last year’s category four hurricane Maria. So little attention is given that it’s easy to assume the administration, FEMA, and Trump have forgotten it exists.

And, according to Media Matters, we can add cable news channels to the list of those whose eyes have turned elsewhere.

“On Tuesday, two things happened: A New England Journal of Medicine article by Harvard researchers argued that the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was most likely thousands higher than the official number of 64; and Roseanne Barr, the sitcom star, was fired for a racist Twitter rant. According to the watchdog group Media Matters, CNN devoted nearly five hours to discussing Roseanne, and just over 12 minutes to discussing Puerto Rico. The other cable news networks, Fox News and MSNBC, were similarly lopsided, with Fox spending just 48 seconds on the Puerto Rico study.”

Could one argue that America has its priorities all messed up?

Poor Puerto Rico, Still!

Late last summer the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was struck by two major hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Along with the US Virgin Islands these American territories were devastated. The physical infrastructure and economies of these islands remain far from recovery.  NPR recently reported:

“Puerto Rico still has areas contending with terrible living conditions following Hurricane Maria and the lackluster response to the storm from the mainland United States. Even the deadly effects of the storm are far from over: With many still living without power or their lives otherwise disrupted, particularly elderly populations, the overall suicide rate in Puerto Rico increased 27 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 levels.”

These people are American citizens yet, in many ways our government has turned its back on them. Somehow America’s president appears to think that flying into the scene and tossing a few rolls of paper towels is all that’s needed. It gave him his photo opportunity.