Archive for April, 2010

Should Have Been a Cowboy

April 26, 2010

My sister asked me who the greatest movie star cowboy was.  Without any hesitation I said, “John Wayne!”

But ya know, my generation is passin’, there’s not much out there that compares with the Duke… 

So last night I brought out an old classic western and watched it.  It was the 1956 film, The Searchers, which John Wayne said was one of his favorites.   As I watched it again for the umpteenth time, I realized once again what made John Wayne such an institution.  Even in this film, where he is really cast against type, I saw things that I hadn’t seen before.  I won’t go into my revelations here because each person should draw his own conclusions about the main character, Ethan Edwards, and why he behaved the way he did.

Of course, the image of a man who stands up for what he believes in and won’t back away from his beliefs is what makes John Wayne such an American hero.  But that image was not reserved for the big screen.  What you saw was really what you got with him.  I don’t think anyone saw him differently.  Here was a man you could trust.

I read one of the many biographies of John Wayne, John Wayne, My Father written by his daughter, Alyssa in 1992 which revealed a more personal side of the Duke.  By all accounts, he was what he portrayed; fiercely patriotic, straight talking and honest. 

Ten John Wayne movie favorites:

1.  Stagecoach 1939 as the Ringo Kid

2.  Reap the Wild Wind 1942 as Capt. Jack Stuart

3.  Tall in the Saddle 1944 as Rocklin

4.  Angel and the Badman 1947 as Quirt Evans

5.  Red River 1948 as Thomas Dunson

6.  The Quiet Man 1952 as Sean Thornton

7.  Hondo 1953 as Hondo Lane

8.  The Searchers 1956 as Ethan Edwards

9.  Rio Bravo 1959 as Sheriff John T. Chance

10.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962 as Tom Doniphon

I realize that not all the above mentioned movies are westerns.  They may not even be John Wayne’s most popular roles.  But I can watch these characters over and over again and find equal enjoyment every time.

Ernest Hemingway once approached John Wayne about starring as Jake Barnes, the main character in his book: The Sun Also Rises.  Fully aware of his public image as a virile ladies man at the time, John answered, “I’d be willing, but do you think the American public would let me?”

Much has been written about John Wayne.  He believed in America and professed this belief openly and unsparingly at a time when it was not as popular to do so.

We need more like him.

Interestingly enough, several milestones have been reached as of this posting.  This is #375.  To date there have been roughly 52,000 hits on AMRFP and May, 2010 marks our fourth year anniversary!  Yikes!  Where does the time go?

Thanks for reading, pilgrim.


Help Me I Think I’m Fadin’… into senility

April 25, 2010


 Joni likes Bob.   Joni doesn’t like Bob.   Joni inspired by Bob.   Joni calls Bob a fake.

What is the world coming to?

I like Joni Mitchell.  I like her airy tunes and the vulnerability she had early on.  But why this sudden turn on the guy she says inspired her to become a songwriter in the first place?

I can imagine what Bob thinks.  “Wish you well, babe.”


“Help me, I think I’m fadin’… into senility.

Are you gonna let me go there by myself? 

That’s such a lonely place to be.

One of us sitting around growlin’  ‘n’  gripin’

snipin’, too.

We love our grovelin’

but not like we love our celebrity…”

I wonder, Joni… can the rest of the world be wrong? awards.html


I love ya, Joni…  but that remark was uncalled for.


the wonder of it all

April 25, 2010


40 years of the Hubble telescope…  enjoy the music, the pictures and the wonder of it all.

Sometimes we need to pause and think about how small we really are.


Is It Any Wonder We’ve Lost Confidence?

April 24, 2010

There is a storm a-brewin’… us_news-life

When the President of the United States is more concerned about the rights of illegals than his own citizens, whose to worry? After all, there is enough tax money to go around for everybody… isn’t there?

You know, this profiling argument has got me even more giddy. Why should we look out for criminals that look like criminals just because they look like criminals? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, flys like a duck and tastes like a duck… do we call it a herring? A certain nationality is crossing our borders illegally, why is it wrong to suspect them?

If I matched a certain description and was questioned by authorities, would I get my panties in a wad? No. Why not? Because I went through due process entering a foreign country. It was not a pleasant procedure; it took effort, time and money. But was it worth it? Yes. I do not have to fear the repercussions of having entered Canada illegally.

I read this statement on the Internet this week: WHY DON’T WE STOP BLAMING BARACK OBAMA FOR GEORGE BUSH’S MISTAKES? and I couldn’t agree more. Bush put us in the sewer; financially, socially, morally and hopelessly. When George II opened the doors to illegals by saying, “You got a job… you’re welcome here.” the flood gates poured in thousands. But that was yesterday. It is never too late to correct our mistakes.

I have stated previously on this blog that I do not begrudge people wanting a better way of life. I do not blame immigrants for wanting to come to a country where they have opportunities not afforded to them in their native land. But two wrongs do not make a right. One government should not relax its laws in order to accommodate citizens of another.

What George II did plummeted the U.S. economy into the worst economic recession in history… and we might never recover. I DO NOT WANT TO STAY THE COURSE!

So here comes a state plagued by illegals that wants to do something about it. Concerned voters contact their representatives and say, “This is wrong, we need to enforce the law!” and their duly elected officials respond. This is the way democracy works. What business is it of the President of the United States? Protect the rights of Americans. Enforce the laws of the United States.

On the other hand, we cannot lose sight of our humanitarian efforts to help others in need. I am proud of the way the U.S. responds to countries like Haiti. The American people have shown time and again their compassion and generosity because we want others to enjoy the freedoms and way of life that we do. That is the true American spirit.

Abraham Lincoln stated: “A house divided will not stand.” Our house is in need of repair before it collapses because if it does… who will pick up the pieces, the illegals?

I applaud the governor of Arizona for complying with the wishes of her citizens. I think Barack Obama should butt out.


That is why I love her…

April 17, 2010

She asks me, “Why do you love me?”

It’s not a hard question.  I tell her it is because of how she makes me feel.  I admire her reasoning and thinking ability.  I love the fact that she reads, devours books actually  and she likes to watch films.  I watch movies, she enjoys films.  I didn’t realize the difference until I met her.

My BB is kind and gentle, she is thoughtful and considerate.  She writes birthdays on the calendar and reminds me of schedules I might overlook.  She’ll apologize for clanking pots and pans together or causing a chair to shriek as it is dragged across the floor, even if there is no one in the room to hear it. 

My beautiful girl will eat a single kernel of popcorn while I stuff handfuls into my mouth.  She’ll eat peanut M&M’s one at a time while I’ll throw back several at once.  She says it is because she wants to savor the individual flavor, I say it’s only dye. 

 She gets embarrassed when I do laundry and fold her underwear.  She thanks me when I do dishes or make the bed.  I love the crazy “elf” socks she wore at Christmas, so out of character for her more serious side.

We walk together around the neighborhood.  She basks in the warm sunlight and notices the squirrels, the birds and the little children and talks to me about the kids, her job, or our future together.   I just like holding her hand.

Sometimes she smiles to hide her sadness, or to keep from crying.  Things upset my fair one, things we cannot control like crime and violence; injustices and indifference will cause her to break down.  Something from the past will cloud her memory and she’ll relive moments she’d like to change.  I feel helpless sometimes, I want to hold her, touch her pretty face and tell her everything will be okay.  I tell her I can not account for everyone else and I’d change things if I could.

Sometimes I just hold her, hoping that is enough. 

I’ll tell a joke to see her smile and her laughter lifts my heart. 

She’ll make me tea as I am writing as if what I’m doing is the most important thing on earth.  She makes me feel that I can accomplish great things with my words and I am grateful for her enthusiasm.

The world would certainly be a better place if more people were like my BB.  There would be enough empathy and fairness.  There would be more compassion and regard for one another, there would be hope and a bright future for all.

I wonder how she does it, because the world does not return her considerations in kind.  People overlook my sweetheart because she doesn’t make a big production out of doing her job.  Friends disappoint and take advantage, exclude her from gatherings claiming oversight while she feels insignificant, underappreciated and forgotten.  Even as a wife and mother, we take her for granted.

She is soft and warm and fits well in my embrace.  She whispers, touches my arm, and looks at me with incredible eyes and lets me know I am where I belong.

 To have her love me is an accomplishment I shall always marvel at and will consider my greatest achievement.  She is an answer to my prayers.

I am a lucky guy.



This is dedicated to the dumb, obnoxious blonde in the straw cowboy hat at the Blue Rodeo concert

April 11, 2010

I enjoy music.  All shapes and sizes.  With the exception of opera, and of course… rap.  Rap has to be the worst excuse for music that exists on the planet in my opinion, but some people enjoy it so…

In my time I have attended many concerts and seen some incredible acts.  One of the most impressive performances was by Bob Seger back in ’73.  Yep, that was a long time ago.

I was living in Florida at the time and the Bob Seger System was scheduled to appear at the Southside Drive-in.  That’s right, at a drive-in movie theatre.  The Bob Seger System played until dusk and then the movies came on.  The films scheduled were the Beatles, Let It Be and another flick.  But we didn’t come to see movies, we came to rock with Seger.

And rock we did!  Not only did Seger have the audience jumpin’, the band encored twice!  What a show!  I often marvel at how fortunate I was to see that performance, because even though Bob Seger had several albums out, up until that point his greatest hit, Night Moves, was still a couple of years away.  Once that song made him an international star there was no way he’d ever appear at the small venue that SW Florida town was, let alone at a drive-in.  (Which has long since been torn down and replaced with a strip mall)

I’ve seen the Eagles and Jefferson Airplane, Deep Purple and ZZ Top, Stixx, Tom Petty and even Chuck Berry.  I’ve enjoyed those artists and many more, and all those shows rocked!  I love the formation of the concert setting whether it be indoors or out.  I’ve relished the occasion each and every time and consider myself a rock ‘n’ roll concert veteran. 

So what is this post about?  It is about a dumb blonde in a straw cowboy hat that loudly hooted at all the wrong moments and nearly caused me to burst a blood vessel.

I don’t know about you, but when I spend $$ to see an artist, I want to hear the music.  I can dig the applause, the cheers, the whistles, the hoot ‘n’ and a-hollar ‘n’ and the general hysteria that follows a song, but not during the song!  DUH!

Well, here’s what happened.

Blue Rodeo is a Canadian band that my BB has enjoyed for many years.  In fact, lots of Canadians have enjoyed them for many years.  But me, well… since I am an American, I hadn’t had the pleasure to hear them until recently.  They appeared here last friday night.  My beautiful girl purchased tickets well in advance at a cost of several $$ a piece.  I don’t know about you, but these days, several $$ comes sparingly.  $$ doesn’t grow on trees!  Still, my limited exposure to Canadian artists made me feel that it would be worth the time, trouble and $$, because I want to know more about Canadian culture and music that isn’t mainstream, at least… not where I come from.  And to share that with my BB is priceless.

Anyway, as I have stated earlier… I have gone to concerts in the past and am fully aware of crowd behavior.  But this was different.

As soon as Blue Radio came on stage the audience roared it’s approval.  BB and I nodded approvingly at each other and were all set to enjoy the evening we had planned on several months before.  And here it was upon us!  Our seats were in the upper level, the view was perfect and we were just off the platform near the exit.  We could enjoy the show and be one of the first ones out!  Perfect!  But then, a distraction…  Loud, obnoxious and indifferent.  It came from a blonde in a straw cowboy hat.  And she was standing right behind us.

Like I said, I can appreciate rounds of applause and shouts of encouragement, etc.  But this woman was just plan rude.  As the musicians began their selections she’d “WOOOOOO!  WOOOOO!”  just to hear herself echo.  She’d clap loudly and shriek, “WOOOO HOOOOO!”  and whistle during the performance!  I looked at BB and she smiled and said calmly, “We are at a concert…” and I nodded in resignation.  Perhaps the blonde cowgirl was just winding down and would cool off as the show progressed.  But I was WRONG!

Soon the bimbo was joined by a guy and they were talking and laughing and carrying on, during the performance!  Honestly folks, I’m not a prude and I am all in favor of a good time and people blowing off steam, but this was just too much.  I endured it through one more number.  When the applause ebbed and the arena quieted down and Jim Cuddy began a soulful ballad, this woman started again.  “WOOOO HOOO!  WOOOO!  HOOOOOO!”  during the performance!  And I erupted…

BB tried to calm me and hold me back but I was beyond the point of consolation.  I leaped out of my seat and vaulted over the couple next to us, into the aisle and up to the platform where the guy and the blonde bimbo stood.  With all the finesse of a linebacker I crowded my way at the end of the railing, forcing the startled man to quickly step aside… and then I stood there like a rock, next to him… waiting for a reaction. 

He quieted right down, even though I did not look at or speak to him.  I’m not a violent man, but if my buttons are pushed…  The blonde cowgirl continued for the remainder of the song Jim Cuddy was singing and held her ground for another song or two, then they both finally left.  But not until she slammed the handrail as hard as she could with her fists.

I remained standing for the rest of the concert, just a few feet away from where BB was sitting.  I know she wasn’t too happy with my less than subdued reaction to the annoying blonde in the straw cowboy hat, but she did enjoy the remainder of evening without the distraction.  She later told me so.

I also met a man there named Murray.  Murray sat at the end of our row at the aisle where the steps were.  Murray was an elderly gentleman, possibly near 70 and he was there with his wife.  Murray used a cane and had a brace on one leg.  He had to stretch his leg out because of the brace and stood off away from his seat earlier on so that other, younger people could squeeze through to their seats further in the row.  Out of consideration.  I admired that.  Murray had a moustache and wore a hat that reminded me of a British aristocrat.  Towards the end of the concert, Murray had to stand and stretch out his leg.  I invited him to come up and stand next to me, which he did. 

I introduced myself and then apologized to Murray for having leaped across his wife and him, but explained that I just couldn’t sit there any longer having to endure that racket from the blonde cowgirl.  Murray told me he has been a Blue Rodeo fan for 20 years and knew some of the history of the band.  And Murray understood my behavior, too; he explained it succintly…

“I didn’t pay all that money to have to sit and listen to that!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So here’s to you, blonde woman in the straw cowboy hat.  I hope you had fun.  I saw you at the foot of the stage when Jim Cuddy invited those who wanted to dance to come on up.  And as the band started pouring it on and the energy of the enthusiastic crowd was at it’s peak,  I could see you waving your hat in the air and having a good time.  And that’s the way it should be… that’s the reason we all came.

But please remember that we came to enjoy the music.  If I want to hear hog calling, I can always go back to Iowa.


In China… they don’t hardly have anything (except contempt for the American public)

April 10, 2010

I have been following this:listedblogpost.aspx?post=1738522&_blg=1,1738522&ucpg=4#uc2Lst and have been commenting:

It is idiotic for anyone to blame the contractor and/or homeowner.  I have worked construction for over thirty years and the general consensus has always been “cheaper is better.”  The supplier looks for the best price and markets materials to the consumer for the best bottom line.  It used to be “Made in America”  then we shifted to “Made in Mexico” then finally we sunk to “Made in China.”  The cheapest goods on the market today are made in China.  It is a “buyer beware, buyer be aware” market. 

Until we as consumers realize that the cheapest product is not the best for us, we will continue to buy from China.  They make inferior products, folks.  As an electrician, I have installed materials that have fallen apart, corroded or simply stopped working in less than a year, electrical materials that once installed should last for years.   Spend a little more, demand better products and write to your political representative and tell them, “We are being put at risk by a Chinese government that puts the consumer at risk.” 

They don’t play by the same rules we do and they are sucking the American consumer dry because we keep asking for cheaper products.  Quality comes at a price.  Safety comes out of concern for individuals and the Chinese have demonstrated again and again that they do not care about civilians, theirs or anyone else’s.

Folks, you owe it to yourselves to insist that this trade with a communist ideology is discontinued before it is too late.  If the above article scares or concerns you, write to the political powers that have authorized this travesty.  If enough people complain, things might change.  Stop shopping at Chinamart, start asking for better quality, make some noise… 

Bad drywall indeed.  Bad karma is more like it, and money is the root of all evil.  This evil is over money.

and here…

 I was an electrical contractor for many years.  Inferior products come by way of the supplier.  If you refuse to purchase their materials, where else do you go?  To say it is the contractor’s responsibility is garbage.  The facts are that we have regulators and laws that should be complied with.  In my case, it is Underwriter’s Laboratories or UL.  The UL label is placed on material’s that are supposed to meet or exceed government standards. If said materials are being supplied to the consumer, we assume that the SUPPLIERS are buying these government approved materials. 

Somehow there are loopholes being created for manufacturers outside our borders and laws to allow inferior and dangerous products to be marketed here.  As I wrote earlier, people need to demand better from our politicians.  THEY are the ones that are supposed to be protecting the citizens that elected them.  An unsuspecting public should not be held accountable for political wrangling and corporate greed. 

And WE as consumers need to seek a better quality of product, re-establish our pride in being able to build better and lasting structures and quit thinking that cheaper is better.  Remember; every single building, automobile and stitch of clothing you wear was manufactured by the lowest bidder.

China owns a great deal of American debt… and we are paying for that now.  It should have NEVER been allowed to have a foreign entity own American soil, influence American politics or dictate where Americans purchase their products.

One more thing, as an electrician I have always been proud of my profession.  Electricity can be a dangerous power source if materials are not installed properly.  To think that someone or something could be harmed and I could be held liable, not because of my ability as a tradesman, but because of materials bought in good faith…  is disturbing.


I don’t know if we can change direction but I do know this…

a government of the people, by the people is not for the people when things like this are happening under our very noses and you feel helpless to do anything about it.


Thank God It’s Friday

April 2, 2010

Today is a holiday at our house, perhaps it is a holiday at your house, too.  It’s getting to where in just about every month there is a holiday thrown in for good measure meaning we have a long week-end as a consequence.  But this one is different… Good Friday, a date that has its origins traced back to 33 AD and proceeds Easter Sunday in Christian society.  I know that not all the people enjoying this long week-end are associated with the Christian faith but they garnish the benefits of a long week-end just the same.  And it is to them that I dedicate this post…

There are a lot of things we take for granted in the world; sunshine, rain, the air that we breathe, all of it is soaked in as though it were our unequivocal right to do so.  So much in life occurs without our even taking notice or having influence over it, yet the occurence of it cannot be denied.

I had a conversation with the kids the other day, on one of those occasions when we are sitting around the dinner table and everyone is still talking to one another.  The subject turned to faith and the belief in God, artfully directed by yours truly.  I find that the world is continually removing the awe and splendor of God’s creation from our children and though I am not a practicer of any formal religion, I still have a reverence to the Almighty.  But more on that later…

People these days form opinions based on popular culture and the direction of their peers.  Never is this more apparent than with school children reaching their teen years.  I am not going to paint this observance with a broad brush, but based on my experience and those of us who are honest with ourselves, most people would have to agree.  There is a shift in thought patterns,  influence and behaviour as a young person reaches 13.  The body is changing while the mind is clinging to it’s adolescence and coping with a growing maturity.  Suddenly, the clouds lift and the darkness of repression is parted… we know it all!

At the dinner table my step-daughter firmly adhered to the belief that there is no God based on lack of proof.  We cannot see God, she ascertained, therefore He doesn’t exist.  We can’t explain where God comes from or what was happening before He existed so to try to believe in a Supreme Being is ridiculous and foolish.  She is rather smug in her assumption and resolute in the finality of her declaration.  Am I up for the challenge?  Our dining room has a large window that looks out on our street.  Above the houses across the street is a blue sky, a rarity for mid-March.  I look outside…

“If you saw an airplane in the sky, could you explain how it flies?”


“But it does fly, right?”

“I guess so, yeah.”

“So, just because we can’t explain how something works, doesn’t mean it can’t exist.”

“Can you explain how it works?”

“Well, there is combustion and lift in the design of an airplane that gives it the ability to leave the Earth, right?  So, yeah, I could explain how a plane flies.  But more importantly is the fact that things do exist that we cannot comprehend.  To say that they don’t exist because we don’t understand how they work would be wrong, don’t you think?”

“Yes” comes from the tender observance of my step-son, aged 11.  You never know whose mind you may be influencing during a conversation with a group and his reaction is most gratifying. 

It gives me hope. 

“To know that God exists all we have to do is look around us.  Instead of deciding there is no God based on lack of evidence, why not try to explain there is no God despite the proof that there is?”

Some of the things that have happened in the name of religion have caused many to turn away from God.  There are some scholars that even declare that the Bible is contradictory and cannot be trusted.  Scientists continually look for ways to discredit creation by Intelligent Design by promoting one theory after another.  Some teachings, such as Darwinism (which began as Darwin’s Theory) are now spewed as fact.

Good Friday may be a religious holiday to some, an observance that precedes the Resurrection of the Christ.  To others it is a day off work and a long week-end that heralds in the springtime with the pagan fertility rites of eggs and baby rabbits.  Whatever your take on the day, try to explain the ability to fly to a teenager. 

You may find more truth than you realize.