Archive for the ‘fall’ Tag

09-22-2016 Final Post!!   Leave a comment

I’ve been contemplating something for the last few months and I’ve finally decided to end my blogging career here on WordPress. I’ve been blogging on a regular basis for almost seven years on two different blogs and I’ve had a lot to say. I’ve voiced my somewhat irreverent opinions on everything from politics to religion. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve made some good friends over the years as well as a few liberal enemies.

I also have a number of other interests that have slowly but steadily taken over my daily activities and turned blogging into a secondary concern. I’ll be shutting down this blog the week prior to Halloween and it should remain available for a time until my domain renewal next year.  After that who knows . . . .

I’d like to thank all of my followers and other regular readers for stopping by as often as they have and I’ll certainly miss their intellectual and opinionated emails. The email, everyuselessthing@yahoo.com, will remain active indefinitely.

SAYONARA, ALOHA, and SHALOM!

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09-20-2016 Journal – Jim Croce Remembered!   Leave a comment

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I’ve had the pleasure over the years of listening to and sometimes enjoying many styles of music.  I have eclectic tastes ranging from opera to blues to jazz but by far many of my most favorite singers have been the balladeers such as Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Chapin, and of course, Jim Croce.

Both Harry Chapin and Jim Croce died before their time which was a great loss to me and remains so to this day. It’s been 43 years sine Croce was killed in a plane crash in Louisiana and 35 years since Chapin died in 1981 in a car accident.

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Here’s a short blurb on Croce’s death.  He’ll always remain on my IPod and continue to make me smile when I listen to his music.

“On Thursday, September 20, 1973, during Croce’s Life and Times tour and the day before his ABC single “I Got a Name” was released, Croce, Muehleisen, and five others died when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed into a tree, while taking off from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Others killed in the crash were pilot Robert N. Elliott, musician Maury Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, manager and booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose, and road manager Dennis Rast. Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches and was flying to Sherman, Texas, for a concert at Austin College. The plane crashed an hour after the concert. Jim Croce was 30 years old.”

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R.I.P. JIM

YOU’RE STILL MISSED

09-18-2016 Journal – Nature Trivia!   Leave a comment

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I’ve always been a lover of Nature and almost anything related to it.  As a photographer I spend as much time as I can out-and-about communing with Mother Nature.  I come by it honestly because as a kid growing up I spent more than half of my time in the woods with my friends. We lived on the edge of huge state park directly adjacent to the Allegheny River and knew every inch of the place.  My father, a hunter, spent a lot of time explaining about local wildlife and how they lived and traveled in the wild. It was just a very cool place to grow up.

So I thought I’d share a few interesting factoids about Nature with you. Here they are.

  • Every year the world’s deserts produce 1.7 billion tons of dust.
  • Nature reserves and national park cover 3% of the worlds surface.
  • Over 99.9% of the land on earth is not occupied by a person at a given time.
  • A tenth of the world’s population relies on the Ganges for water.
  • It takes one hundred years for the deep-sea clam to grow to the length of a third of an inch.

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  • Nearly half of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans since the beginning of the nineteenth century has been absorbed by the oceans.
  • An estimated 30% of Earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.
  • Since the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, the sun has become 25-30% hotter.
  • More than 90% of the world’s rubies come from Burma (or whatever they’re calling it these days).
  • Lake Baikal in Russia contains about 20% of the world’s fresh water.

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That’s it for today. It’s time to turn off this computer and get to work in the yard. Winter’s coming and the garden has to be deconstructed.

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ENJOY YOUR DAY OF REST

 

09-16-2016 Journal – Look Out! X-mas is Coming.   Leave a comment

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Another week coming to an end and we’re already halfway through the month of September. The summer of 2016 went by in the wink of an eye and the holidays are again rushing towards us. I wonder to myself which retailer will strike the Christmas colors first. I suspect that as in years past Walmart will be the one to get things rolling 15 minutes after the Halloween holiday is over. That in itself is supremely depressing but it seems to get earlier and earlier every year regardless of how much we complain.

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Yesterday I received this list of companies that have already made it known that Black Friday will begin for them by being open for business on Thanksgiving Day. I guess that’s the new approach to companies who put their employees families second on their list of priorities. That seems to be the ongoing retail way of thinking these days and unfortunately I can bitch about it all I want but no one in the retail establishment gives a damn what I think or what you think. Look at the upside . . . you’ll have a great place to spend your holiday if you get sick of eating Thanksgiving dinner, spending time with your family, or God forbid actually relaxing and enjoying the day. The almighty buck rules all. Make sure to thank these folks:

J.C. Penny

Kohl’s

Toy’s r Us

Target

Walmart

Sears

Macy’s

Belk

Sports Authority

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Dollar General

Best Buy

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While I write this posting I have a Christmas wish that will never be fulfilled. I wish that the population of the millions of so-called consumers in this country would pull their collective heads out of the sand and stop allowing retailers to continue to think that the “great unwashed” are that easily controlled. It’s a lazy population that lets celebrities, the media, politicians, and big business tell them how to think, act, what to buy, and how to be politically correct at all times.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US ALL

You usually get what you deserve.

12-18-2015. Journal – Have a Flu Infested Christmas!   Leave a comment

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I know it’s the Christmas season and I also know that requires us to be as cheerful and happy as possible. I hope you’ll appreciate this break in all the happiness to listen to one of my short Christmas rants.  Sit back and enjoy while I vent for a bit and try to get my blood pressure to drop back to normal levels.

For many years I made a point of skipping flu shots for one simple reason. Every time I got a flu shot, surprise, surprise, I immediately got the flu.  As soon as I mentioned that to any healthcare provider I was given the always handy excuse of "It’s really just a milder version of the flu so be glad about that." I found it difficult to to be too glad so I finally stopped taking the shots. Just as a point of fact, I still got the damn flu and it didn’t feel all that different from the so-called milder version. What does that tell you?  It tells me that it’d possible that someone’s been pumping a whole lot of sunshine up my skirt  and getting away with it for years.

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I realize that the politicians in this country think that all of us non-political mouth-breathers are morons and uneducated idiots. I should add the entire healthcare system thinks that way as well with all of it’s so-called experts speaking down to us at every opportunity. I may be a moron and an idiot but I’m still able to recognize a huge pile of BS when I see it, step in it, or smell it. Right now I’m doing all three.

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‘Can’t see Santa till you get that flu shot kiddies.’

We constantly hear talk that certain chemicals used to create flu shots and other vaccines may be one of the causes of the massive increase in children diagnosed with forms of autism. Since I’m an idiot and a moron I’m expected to go along with all of the experts when it comes to injecting vaccines into my body. I’m also expected to believe all of the rhetoric and propaganda that’s shoved down my throat for a few months each year.

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Over the years they’ve  just made it too damn easy to get  flu shots. We can go to drug stores, malls, Walmart, and community centers. Maybe next year they’ll include a few gas stations, car repair shops, 7/11’s, or even have drive-thru service on interstate highway rest stops. Those rest stops are known for quite a diverse cross-section of the population who also are in need of flu shots. 

I received my flu shot this year in September and guess what? I’ve been sick with a host of flu symptoms for two months that never seem to go away. This must prove just how right the experts are, right? Instead of a one week case of the flu I’m now able to suffer for a month or more with their damn weaker version which really makes for a wonderful Christmas. I can sneeze, wheeze, and contaminate my entire family.  This mouth breathing moron is slowly waking up. . . . no more effing flu shots for me.

HAVE A MERRY FLU INFESTED CHRISTMAS – 6 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

12-10-2015 Journal– A Korean Christmas Story!   1 comment

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I’ve talked a great deal over the years about my experiences while serving in the Army. As with any young man or woman serving outside of this country, being away from home and family during the Christmas season for the first time is difficult.  In my case I was not only away from family, I was in a non-Christian county that seemed to be more than a little primitive to me.

Their religion was primarily Buddhist and the Christmas holiday meant very little to them. They at times pretended to understand but that was motivated entirely by their desire to make money from visiting Americans.

At the time I was stationed in an area that was primarily populated by rice farmers living in small villages that dotted the northern countryside. There were no paved roads and most villages only had electric power for a few hours a day.  For those of us from the United States it was like traveling back in time a hundred years.

I was living almost full time in a local village and actually had my laundry taken to a local river where it was beaten on the rocks with wooded paddles and soap.  That certainly took some getting used to for me.  My Korean friends seemed totally befuddled by the entire Christmas holiday bro-ha-ha and sat silently as I tried to explain it to them. They were interested in my stories of Christ and the Magi, but the virgin birth story had them all silently giggling a little.

Regardless I was determined to have a Christmas celebration so I asked a few of my them for their help in putting up a Christmas tree.  They agreed to help but weren’t exactly sure what I was up to. As that project was progressing I had a little old mama-san ask me through an interpreter why would any sane person put a tree inside their home. I was hard pressed to answer her because I didn’t know the reason either. They continued to humor me as I explained other peculiarities that they couldn’t quite grasp.

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A week or so later with two Korean friends I hiked up a nearby mountain near a small Buddhist temple to find a tree. We ended up dragging back the sorriest looking bush you could ever imagine, set it up in my hooch, and started to decorate it as best we could. There was a hand-made star on top of the tree (my doing) and a number of pieces of charcoal tied to the branches with twine (their doing). I never had that fully explained to me but it was what they wanted to do. It had something to do with good luck or good pregnancy or something. Since we had no electricity they suggested placing candles in and around the tree but I nixed that immediately. The last thing we needed was to burn down my hooch and a portion of the village when a little, dry, and nasty looking tree, bust  into flames.

I had some GI decorations I made from C-rations that looked stupid as hell but they loved it. Later we ate most of the decorations and drank a bottle of really cheap brandy that I’d brought along for the occasion. I presented them each with a small gift of candy and got a little kiss on the cheek from everyone.

I was still a little homesick but that weird little celebration came to mean a lot to me over the years. It was cozy, friendly, and more than a little strange but it was also genuine. They forever became part of my extended family because they’d made an effort to help get me through a very difficult time. Christmas, the holiday, had very little meaning to them but they realized how important it was to me. 

I still wonder to this day if any of them have fond memories of that night and think about it occasionally. I also hope that all of my comrades-in-arms who are away from home this Christmas are lucky enough to find some friends like I did.

Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

14 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT TIL THIS ONE

12-06-2015 Journal– Red & Green Insanity!   Leave a comment

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‘Christmas Eve in Maine.’

How is your holiday season progressing?  Are your preparations ahead of schedule or behind? Is your Christmas tree real or artificial? Are your kids driving you crazy yet? Has your alcohol consumption increased progressively with the holiday pressures?  All really good questions but as we all know they’re rhetorical. 

The drumbeat of Christmas is getting louder each day. I go to sleep thinking about what I’ve accomplished that day and wake up thinking about all of the stuff that I still need to accomplish today.  I am so full of Christmas cheer I could scream out loud.  After rereading this paragraph I think I discovered something else I must be full of.  You get my drift, right? I’M LOSING IT MAN!

Here is my kitchen table as I found it this morning:

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Trust me when I tell you the entire living room and family room look exactly like it as well.   I’m knee deep in Christmas and there’s still 18 shopping days left. It could take us until sometime in February to repack all this stuff and I can’t wait.  At least the damn cat seems to be enjoying himself:

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I haven’t had my breakfast yet but since I can’t eat in the kitchen I may retire to the deck and eat there. That’s right, the sun is shining and it’s still warm enough to sit outside and have breakfast. It’s madness I tell you.

Even Mother Nature appears confused by the weather. I took a stroll around the property yesterday  for no other reason than to get a little sun on my pasty white body.  I found this lonely little flower in the side yard. One stupid dandelion that’s decided it’s really not December but April. I can officially say this is the latest I’ve ever seen any flower growing and blooming.

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‘The all-time dumbest flower on the planet.’

I’d like to continue on with this post but I’m getting the evil eye from my better-half. It’s time to get back to my Santa duties. Everything has to be just perfect for the grandsons when they arrive (in two and a half effing weeks). Sorry about the language but all these red and green colors are finally getting to me or maybe it’s just my requested Christmas aneurism finally showing up.

I hope someone tells Santa just what a good boy I’ve been this year. He owes me big time.

11-30-2015 Journal–Crappy Weather & Super Scrabble!   Leave a comment

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It’s Cyber Monday and I just finished renewing and deleting the fifty spam emails I received overnight.  I’ve experienced aggressive retailing before but nothing like this year. I’d like to thank Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Walmart, and many others for totally attempting to take over my email accounts. In appreciation I thought I’d let you know that as of tomorrow I’ll be unsubscribing from all of you because this is verging on harassment and I need to put a stop to it.  Merry effing Christmas folks.

Rather than spending time with my better-half at the mall, we’ve decided to spend her day off today driving from town to town to visit many of the smaller mom-and-pop gift shops and hoping to find a few small gifts for a few remaining family members. I might even spring for a nice lunch somewhere in the York Beach area near Portsmouth.

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The weather forecasts for later in the week call for rain and rain and then more rain. If we’re going to do this shopping it has to be today or we’ll be out of luck. I’d like to get a few photos along the coast if we can but who knows, we may not get any sunshine today at all.

The time seems to be flying by and Christmas will be arriving all too quickly. We intend to enjoy this warm Indian Winter weather while it lasts. I’m afraid when it ends it won’t be pretty. I have visions of snow drifts and really icy roads very very soon.  I’d like to have a white Christmas but not too white.

The grand kids came to visit over the weekend and it’s always good to see them and their parents. We kicked back and relaxed with a somewhat friendly game of Super Scrabble.

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For those of you who aren’t Scrabble fanatics it’s an enlarged standard Scrabble board with more tiles and Quadruple word and letter squares. It was great fun even though I got my ass thoroughly kicked by everyone.  Fun but quite humbling for someone as competitive as I am. I guess there’s always the next time to return the favor.

More decorating tonight and I hope to put the finishing touches on the tree. That really brings the Christmas spirit alive for me like nothing else.

24 SHOPPING DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS

11-26-2015 Journal – The Madness Begins!   Leave a comment

It’s Thanksgiving morning here in Maine.  No snow, no sleet, no high winds, and fifty degree sunny weather. What’s wrong with this picture? I wait all year for this holiday when I can put on a heavy coat, take a walk in the cold fresh air, eat a great meal, and relax the day away.  Warm weather? What the hell?

Yesterday was the big day for us. My better-half finally was finally bitten on the butt by the Christmas bug and all of the cherished peace and quiet in this house is over for the foreseeable future.

I was given my marching orders early which required me to make a visit to my least favorite place . . . the attic.  A spooky, dirty, and buggy place filled with boxes of holiday crap stacked everywhere. Pick any holiday of the year and I can find a few boxes of decorations to dig through for that day. Christmas is the worst because the better-half seems to have saved every Christmas decoration going back to her birth. As you can see our family room looks like Santa’s sleigh had some maintenance issues and crashed and exploded right here.

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Wrapping papers, boxes of lights, then more lights, then tinsel, then more tinsel, then tree ornaments, and then more tree ornaments. I’m hip deep in the stuff and there’s still more boxes left in the attic. God help me!

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My main chore each year is to unpack the tree, find all the pieces (it’s not a real one), drag everything into the living room and put it all together. It’ll be much easier this year since we purchased a new tree at the end of last year’s holiday season. The previous artificial tree was seven feet tall and almost five feet wide and huge pain to assemble. It consisted of at least forty different limbs and parts and took quite a while to construct as well as shedding about a pound of plastic pine needles every time it was touched. This new one went up with a snap in five minutes and then it only needed a little TLC and tweaking to make it really nice.

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Hopefully by the end of today the tree will be up and decorated, the furniture rearranged or moved into other rooms, and the Christmas tunes will be firmly imbedded in my skull for the next month. After Country & Western music I hate Christmas music the most.  Unfortunately once those damn songs get stuck in my head I’ll be humming them until the middle of January.

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‘Step One’

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‘Step Two’

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‘Done’

This is one of the good things that happened today. My better-half has a tradition of supplying freshly baked cinnamon buns soaked in sugar icing the morning of each holiday.  I watched her prepare the buns, letting them cool, then pouring that glorious sugar sweetness all over them. I  hijacked a couple, scurried off to another room and quickly wolfed them down.  That’s my payment for today’s Christmas chores and like it or not I’ll probably eat a couple of more tomorrow.  I can at least give thanks for them.

So it begins . . .

11-24-2015 Journal– Computers, Crowds & Shopping!   Leave a comment

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The electric blanket remains at level six this morning as I lounge here and try to decide what this day will bring.  The better-half works only a half day today which I fear means more Christmas shopping in my immediate future. Fortunately I recharged my Kindle and my Surface last night and feel I’m ready for almost anything.

I suspect I’ll end up sitting in front of the computer for the afternoon as I’ve been doing for most of the last week. I’m preparing and editing some of the  blog postings from the last year that will be included in a blog book I’m having made.  I do this each year and have collected quite the library. It does take an investment of time but I love having the ability to go back to my library to insure I’m not repeating things over and over again and boring my readers.

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Once that little project is completed I can return to the sorting and indexing of my archive of photographs. I currently have almost twenty thousand pics which need reviewing. I’m determined to eliminate everything that isn’t just perfect which will take a great deal of time. Since I have most of those pictures already backed up on my personal cloud, I’ll be able to recover a great deal of hard drive space on my desktop which is badly needed.  I’ll also need to stock up on more extra strength Tylenol to help me with the headaches I anticipate are to come.  It doesn’t take much screen time to put a severe strain on my eyes.

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With Thanksgiving just two days away I’m in no rush to accomplish much. The better-half and I can relax for a few days after enjoying our laid back holiday celebration.  She’s already mentally preparing herself for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of the other shopping days that have been created to allow retailers to pelt us with junk mail, TV ads, and spam.  I like spending time with her but any shopping done in and around Thanksgiving is not all that enjoyable for me. I get a little claustrophobic in large crowds and prefer to avoid them whenever possible.

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I’m about to spring into action but every time I try to get up the bed and that damn electric blanket keep calling me back.  The coffee is starting to kick-in which will eventually force me to my feet and to get ready for the day.

ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY