Tuesday, February 6, 2018


The place where Ray Ellis was born, grew up, spent his adult life and died has been obliterated. Make way for a pivot sprinkler. He was a bachelor, lived with his mother, no offspring (and I will bet the farm on that one). The 1950's equivalent of a Millenial.

Except Ray worked, and he worked hard. Not effectively or efficiently, but hard. Ray gave me my first "real" job, I was 12 and he was a neighbor. About $1 per hour, and it was hauling alfalfa bales and stacking them on a pile in the yard. I earned enough over three days to buy a baseball glove that cost $30 in Columbus at the sporting goods store. If I were flipping burgers in today's world, that glove would be worth about $300...but since it now comes from Haiti or someplace, it doesn't cost that much.

My brother and I would laugh at Ray for keeping the hog feed in the cattle pen and the cattle feed in the hog pen. Then transported back and forth with 5-gallon buckets until his arthritis made him so stooped that he resorted to 2.5-gallon buckets.

The hogs that should have been castrated young were left to grow and my brother and I didn't laugh so hard when we had to hold them when they were as big or bigger than we were. Their breath is not heavenly, either.

A woman who works at the local post office where I live could be his mother's, Nettie Ellis's, sister. Except Nettie was probably born in the 1880's. I hesitate to broach that subject with this lady...the story would get too complicated, and for what?

Why does Ray come up in my mind so many times? Maybe due to the work, the pay, the peculiar smell that his 1951 Chevy car had--he had been to town, bought five gallons of 2-4-D concentrate to spray for weeds, and it spilled all over in the trunk. The car was new for about 5 minutes, I guess. It was awful.

Maybe all those things, but maybe because all remnants of his life have been wiped clean. No physical evidence, no offspring. And damned few people who remember him. Well, Ray, I do. Vividly. But it is unintentionally nihilistic--because that just doesn't mean a blasted thing.

Make your own vows and conclusions from that.

Carry on.

Sunday, January 28, 2018


This is not, really, a book review, but some observations after reading The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer. My thanks to Amy W for borrowing the book in my name, it was perfect.

By the end of 1944, the war in the Pacific was pretty much determined, but the details were not. The battles of Midway and the Coral Sea had depleted the Japanese Navy and the Marianas Turkey
Shoot virtually eliminated their air power, and that turned out to be what they desperately needed. Maybe that is why we don’t hear much about the Battle off Samar, part of the “Leyte Gulf” operations that freed the Philippines, but subsequent operations (Iwo Jima and Okinawa come to mind) have been reviewed extensively.

The book reads like a novel, details the lives and exploits of key players and has the benefit of nearly 60 years of scholarship, memories and investigation. Still the US Navy’s down play of the battle is probably traced to its reluctance to skewer a couple of its heroes, Admiral Kinkaid for one, but in particular Admiral “Bull” Halsey who was trumpeted as a hero in the home newspapers before and after the battle, despite his arrogant and obsessive actions that took his powerful fleet out of the battle, far away. If too bright a light had been shone at the time, his failure would have been clearly seen.

Read the book, feel the horror of the carnage and the heroism of men who epitomize the “Greatest Generation.” Their eager call to duty is difficult for me to imagine in today’s climate.

So many of the observations made about the survivors at reunions tap into my experience—long-term bonds with comrades from long ago and an image of self and others that is much younger. I recognize people outside that group as old men and women, but we are forever young.

I should make some sweeping recommendation about “everybody should recognize the sacrifices” but that would be presumptuous and worthless. For me it was another reminder of how lucky we are to have had those men, many stricken down at the start of their lives, who stopped the Nazis and the Japanese. It would have been a different and lesser world today.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


OK, you talk about a First World Problem! We have had a blizzard, a snow storm and a lot of days below freezing and nights in the single digits.



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Affirmative Consent

This is kind of hard to read, the author tosses words like “plebiscite“ and phrases like “insurrectionary vanguard” much as you and I would use words like “poll” and phrases like “leaders of the pack.”

Anyway, the point of it that the idea that relationships between men and women should be governed by “affirmative consent” rather than “implied consent” or no consent at all, just power, was introduced by Antioch College in the 1990’s and met with lots of doubt. Yet, that is what is sweeping the country right now. All who took advantage of interns or subordinates, all who touched and spoke in a manner that somehow damaged the dignity of a woman or girl shall be toppled from their perches and their power removed. Flirting shall now and forever more be politely verbal.

The author makes a good case that we don’t know where this is going to lead. We don’t know where the anti-bullying campaign is going to lead, either, although a news cast interview I heard today seemed to imply that bullying (and, therefore, anti-bullying) was invented in the last couple of years. I can attest to it being much older than that.

Anyway, the feminists are winning, the bad guys are falling, where we end up, nobody knows. maybe, as Amy W suggested, we will henceforth have nothing but female hosts of TV shows and politicians. We might be reduced to a society where men join gangs, don't work, the women earn the paychecks that support the families, and where men are just "baby daddies?"

Everything is about sex, except sex which is about power. ~ Oscar Wilde (perhaps)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


I could direct you to several articles that deal with this appalling phenomenon. After decades of decline, traffic deaths are up. Not just up, but WAY UP.


Over the last two years. For perspective, there were 37,461 traffic deaths in 2016 versus 32,744 in 2014.

Key statistic within the statistics, the rate of deaths per million miles driven went up. 


In 1950 when I was five years old, there were 150 million people in the US. There were 7.24 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

By the 1970's, vehicles and roads started to really get better, seat belts being one of the big life savers, until in 2014 (population 315 million) the deaths per 100 million VMT was 1.08. In 2016, it climbed to 1.18.

Still pretty low, but why the increase?


Yep, we all observe the car in front of us weaving, not pulling away from a light, slowing down or whatever, and most of the time, you peer into the car and see the driver with their eyes cast down to a smart phone.

Watch for legislated changes. For instance, you cannot drive and hold a hand-held phone in a lot of states (Maryland is one, I think) or other places, like military installations.

One that might happen? Your phone automatically shuts off when your car is running. We may look at "hands free" operation, Blue Tooth, etc. the same way we recall our kids standing on the front seat with us as we drove.

People, you cannot multi-task as well as you think you can. Please, don't talk on the phone or text while you drive, it is dangerous and all the people who get this blog mean a lot to me, so I want you to stick around. Take the call, if necessary, and ask to call them back. Be safe.


This should bake their little noodles--the Russians seeing a post about the Russians.

I mentioned this before, but just looked at the stats. The stats for my blog show that Russia is the source of more "page views" than any other country during the last week, by a big margin.

63 page views from Russia
19 page views from US

ON MY LITTLE BLOG! I take the cue from Sienfeld by blogging about nothing.

So, what are they looking for? Beats me.

Wish I were more skilled so I could actually post the picture of the stat page. Sorry.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


CNN is reporting that the Russians purchased Black Lives Matter ads on Facebook during the 2016 Presidential campaign geo-targeted at Ferguson, MO and Baltimore in order to foment (I always wanted to use that word) unrest.

More recently, similar accounts from Russia have been tweeting about the NFL kneeling issue on both sides with incendiary words.

The Internet Research Agency is probably behind most of it, Russia's official/non-official troll.

OK, so all of you guys know this stuff, but here is a tidbit...not recently, but when I first started this blog, it fascinated me that when I looked at the stats, I was getting a lot of hits from Russia. I wondered at the time why anyone in Russia would be interested in this drivel, and since then they have gone away.

Active bunch, aren't they? So the next time you see a panting network news reporter talking about some Tweet or situation that seems a bit "off", think "Russia."

The LMN falls for every diversionary tactic that Trump has thrown out there and swallows what the Russians plant. No wonder we can't keep up with real news.