Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Giving thanks and count'n bless'ns

This year the Warden hosted for the Thanksgiving feast and 18 family members were in attendance.  Momma and Daddy Warden came from Texas to attend, accompanied by the Warden's younger brother and sister.  Also at the last minute on Wednesday we got a call from Peoria, IL and baby Ruth (the youngest daughter, not the candy bar) said they were also going to get to attend. This of course was a welcomed surprise.
The Warden of course fretted and stewed all week wondering if she had everything she was going to need to feed everyone.  She made daily trips to the store to pick up vegetables, fruits, cans of various foods, different seasonings and other items of recipes she just found and had to try.  And she also called me daily to stop at some Country Mart or Dillions to pick up some other "forgotten ingredient".  (Which did put me in the fight of my life for a couple boxes of cornbread dressing mix on Wednesday.  If I hadn't outweighed that 80 year old woman, I might not have gotten those boxes wrenched out of her hand!)
But on Thursday around 9:30 everything started coming together as people arrived.  Smells from the kitchen drew in samplers and tasters.  Becky, Rachel and Ruth (with husbands, kids and dogs) arrived bearing more mashed potatoes, hams, cakes and casseroles.  Those of us that were of the male gender sat on the newly finished front porch enjoying the beautiful weather and pretended to oversee the wild Indians playing in the yard.  Finally dinner was announced and we crowded into the kitchen to surround the bar filled with various delicacies and fill our plates to overflowing.
Now here at the Warden/KSCowboy household there is a special tradition at Thanksgiving.  Since it is "Thanks Giving" we all have to tell what we are thankful for.  This is really a unique time.  It makes everyone reflect on their own blessings but also, as you listen to others share theirs, realize some blessing that you might have taken for granted.
As we go around the room each person (of voting age) tells of blessings such as health, job changes, neighbors they have, children in good health, the country in which we live, opportunities that have happened to us, etc.  It is a fun, inspirational and an enlightening time that draws this family a bit closer.  I too add my blessings to the list.
Yet even as open as we are with feelings and emotions, there is always something that a person holds within the deep recesses of the heart.  Whether fear of being deemed as "petty" or fear of "embarrassment" or something more trivial, we do not totally bare our soul.  As I am giving my "blessing speech", looking at all the food before us, meeting the eyes of all my kids, healthy grandkids, in-laws and out-laws there is a blessing I don't mention.  However in my heart I am SO THANKFUL we now have a house with three bathrooms!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Internet

When I first began hearing about the internet I had trouble even understanding the concept of a network of computers tied together around the world.  Not only that but what possible functions could it play in daily life.
Now I do my banking on line.  I pay most of my bills through the internet.  I check the weather.  I read the news I want and skip the rest.  I can shop at Wal-Mart without standing in the Express lane for three hours.  Literally millions of companies large and small have web sites.  I can go research articles about health and nutrition.  I can check out "how to's" on most any subject known to man.  I can buy plane tickets, plan vacations and set up reservations.  I can check sports scores or stock prices.  Research history or learn about astronomy.  The list of things I can do is as endless as the internet itself.
As more and more companies begin to rely on the internet for commerce they are constantly researching ways to "keep you connected".  I can carry my laptop and in many cities use it to connect to a WI-FI network and do the very same things while traveling as if I was sitting at home behind my desk.
The growth of the internet out-surpassed the TV.  Television grew rapidly in the 40's and 50's.  Hardly any homes in the industrial world was vacant of a TV by the early 60's.  People marveled that the world was becoming smaller.  We got to see the news within hours when dignitaries met for summit talks or a catastrophic event happened somewhere.
Now all over the world people with personal computers are getting connected and the world gets smaller.  Some ordinary individual sitting on a computers can relay information in a matter of seconds about events like the tsunami, earthquakes, war in Iraq or other catastrophic events.
People get to know people from other countries through chat rooms, instant messengers or pen pal sites and friendships grow from these.  No longer do we rely on what the dignitaries to tell us or the news men.  Today we can find others and learn ourselves.
Then the thought hits me.  Besides the millions of companies out there, there are literally billions of people like myself sitting and staring at these little lighted screens.  Now you would think with all those billions of people out there hooked to the internet that I would have at least ONE email to read this morning!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

With age comes wisdom?

As I approach yet another birthday, I remember when I was back in college and I called my grandmother on her birthday just to wish her a happy birthday.  Now grandma was pretty quick-witted and always could fit in a one-liner.   She told me that when she was a kid she only had birthdays every 4 or 5 years but that now she was having two or three a year.  I laughed and still do when I think of her saying that.  HOWEVER now I chuckle simply because I know exactly what she meant!  Last month I had my 50th birthday and the month before that was my 45th! 
I have always enjoyed reading history and learning what it was like "way back then".  I thought it was so cool when we got cable and I had a history channel to watch.  But now when I watch the history channel, it's more like a stroll down memory lane .... I have experienced a lot of it!
A couple years ago, I was substitute teaching a history class made up of seniors.  I don't remember exactly what point I was trying to make, but I was trying to tie the point with a US conflict.  Knowing they wouldn't remember the Viet-Nam war I used the statement "you remember how it was during the Gulf War, Desert Storm" and finished making my point.  One young man in the back of the room raised his hand and said, "sir, our Dad's fought in the Gulf War.  We were only 3 or 4 years old."  Goodness!  All of a sudden a rush came over me of just how OLD I was getting!
My paternal grand-dad died at the age of 94.  He had been born before the 20th century even started.  I marvel at the changes he seen.  He started with horses and yet see automobile travel became common place.  He could remember Oklahoma becoming a state.  Can you for a minute imagine that?  From his farm to Oklahoma would take 20 to 30 minutes today, yet as a teenager it would have been a "days ride" for my grand-dad to get there.
Think about it.  Airplanes before there were "airports".  Telephones with cranks and you needed a lot of money just to call someone in the next state.  Radio and TV becoming common.  He worried about his kids and polio.  What did he think when he seen an X-ray for the first time.  Electricity and "indoor plumbing".  Men on the moon.  The attack on Pearl Harbor and the atom bomb.  The list goes on and on.
I do wonder (assuming I make it till I am 94) what my descendants will marvel most at about my historical existence.  Heart or liver transplants? Cell phones?  Internal combustion engine? Cancer treatments?  The internet?  Satellite communications?  Space travel?
The ONE thing I do worry about in this changing world is the family unit.  Will that be remembered 40 years from now?
Well, there is one thing great about growing older........it beats the alternative!

Friday, November 17, 2006

1969 / 2006 comparison

Good evening my friends. What you are about to read would be truly funny, if it were not so true. (Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent!)

Scenario: Jack pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack.

1969 – Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack’s rifle, goes to his car and gets his to show Jack.

2006 – School goes into lockdown, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.


Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1969 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.

2006 – Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.


Scenario: Jeffrey wonÂ’t be still in class, disrupts other students.

1969 – Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal. Sits still in class.

2006 – Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.


Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his fatherÂ’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping.

1969 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2006 – Billy’s Dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy’s sister is told by state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.


Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to school.

1969 – Mark shares headache medicine with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2006 – Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.


Scenario: Mary turns up pregnant.

1969 – 5 High School Boys leave town and enlist in the army. Mary does her senior year at a special school for expectant mothers.

2006 – Middle School Counselor calls Planned Parenthood, who notifies the ACLU. Mary is driven to the next state over and gets an abortion without her parent’s consent or knowledge. Mary given condoms and told to be more careful next time.


Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1969: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2006: PedroÂ’s cause is taken up by state democratic party. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and PedroÂ’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he canÂ’t speak English.


Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1969 – Ants die.

2006 – BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.


Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary, hugs him to comfort him.

1969 - In a short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2006 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison.

IsnÂ’t it time for us to gain control again of our kids, our schools and our lives? Stand-up and letÂ’s have freedom again. LetÂ’s get rid of political correctness. Put in jail those who abuse our system. Withstand those who would try to do away with our culture.
*Author note; I can't take credit for the writing of this blog. It was copied from an email I recieved.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Remote

I think there is law somewhere that states that woman should not usurp her authority over the TV remote … or maybe that is in the Book of Proverbs. But anyway, if it ain’t it should be! Let me try to explain some basic facts.

First of all, women are built different than men. (OK I know it is a shock for those who, like the Warden, burned their bras back in the late 60’s but there are some differences.) For example, women’s fingers are pointed. Although I do not believe in evolution, I do think that a woman’s finger has evolved into more of a “point” after years of directing where furniture needs to be moved to, where a picture should be hung or where to plant the chrysanthemums!

Conversely, men’s fingers are more rounded. Probably this is due to hitting them with a hammer while hanging pictures or from digging in the dirt planting chrysanthemums. But none-the-less, this rounded digit is a much better design for pushing buttons, i.e. the remote.

 Authors note: The Warden who is reading over my shoulder as I write this, just mentioned that feature of rounded fingertips also is best suited for poking all her buttons the wrong way! But I guess that is another blog sometime.

Secondly, women do not understand the concept of “channel surfing”.

Major companies who spend millions of dollars on advertising realize that in mere seconds an image is burned into your mind about many their products, logos and services. These are flashed very quickly to influence your next buying decision.

However in certain instances, they leave the image on screen for several seconds maybe even the entire commercial. This is done for you to study the features of the product on a much more defined scale. Usually this is on the more expensive items that require a greater buying decision.

The same thing holds true for channel surfing. We have 60 channels to surf through (24 women’s channels, 5 sports channels, 10 movie channels, 4 major networks, 6 news channels, 6 music channels, 4 science channels and the weather channel). To surf these channels it should take less than five minutes, unless of course you run across a car chase scene, a golfer taking his swing, a shoot-out, a fight scene, a quarterback poised for a pass, a crack of a bat or a light tree blinking the start of a drag race. Any of these would of course slow down the surfing time.

Under no circumstances should it require more than a couple of seconds to move on if there is a song being sung on a movie channel! Or pray tell if you run across a scene of a lady pouring some batter into a cake pan why stop and watch her BAKE the silly thing! And watching some guy shingle his house? What good is that? You can fix the shingles on your own house if that is your interest.

Men join with me and let’s get a law passed. Write your congressman!