Prayers For The Lost

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Millions of Americans over the last few days have been offering prayers and condolences for those killed and wounded in the shooting in Las Vegas.

59 people  killed, over 500 wounded in a shooting that took place during an outdoor concert.

Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Once again we have experienced the carnage of hate heaped upon innocent people.

Once again we offer our prayers for the victims and their families.

Is anyone praying for the shooter? Stephen Paddock and his family?

We don’t know and might not ever know how he came to think that this act of evil was the only thing left for him to accomplish in this world.

He committed suicide as the police were forcing their way into the two room suite he rented in order to commit mass murder.

I don’t think Stephen Paddock was born evil.

Something in his life caused him to evolve from a wide eyed innocent child into a horrific monster.

One would think that if he wanted to leave a legacy of revolution or promote some misguided cause he would have surrendered and used the media platform to continue his tirade of hate.

Like others before him; Dylann Roof, Syed Farook, Adam Lanza, Harris and Klebold, one would expect there to have been clues and behaviors that would tell the story of his descent into a  life of hatred. Some history of despair which could only be healed (in his mind) by the need to carry out this pure evil act.

Someone, family members, a girl friend or acquaintances must have had some inkling of his solitary, secrete life.

Instead they described him as “caring, kind, quiet.”

His brother was quoted as saying “This was a complete surprise to us. When you find out let us know.”

But then, he killed 59 innocent people and himself.

Since 1984, some 54 murderers have gained notoriety from mass shootings.

http://timelines.latimes.com/deadliest-shooting-rampages/

Some were disgruntled employees turned down for a promotion or fired from jobs. Some were students spurned by teachers or classmates. Some (or all) were suffering from mental illness. Some were avowed terrorists and supremacists.

Killing was their way to further a cause, get revenge, or get their own Wikipedia page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Paddock

There was a time that suicide was an act of despair carried out alone, away from scrutiny of the sun.

Now, more and more often it seems, people bent on killing themselves have found the need to take  innocent lives with them.

By all accounts Stephen Paddock had success, money, and people who cared. He traveled, had company and for all practical purposes, seemed to enjoy his life.

So what happened that pointed to violence and death as the only way out?

How many others are out there waiting for their psyches to justify mass murder?

And should we be praying for them?

Oh, Say Can You See…

 

https://uago.at/-xjyl

Will the last adult leaving America, please turn out the lights.

Of course, an adult would automatically turn out the lights to save energy and lower the light bill.

Likewise, an adult would realize that the battle between our adolescent President and NFL players is kinda like high school street gangs from the 50’s.

Both sides are squared off in the street, wearing chinos and leather, each “double daring” the other to do something even more outrageous.

As might be expected they fail to look past the bravado and address the original transgression.

Twitter has become the place to scream, “Oh yeah? Yeah!”

A gang and mob mentality emerges whenever the subject of racism comes up.

Unfortunately, the adults who could break up the fight are nowhere to be found.

Our political leaders are part of the problem. Beginning at the top, their self interests have long ago taken priority over that of the country.

The police have their hands full, policing themselves. Renegade officers are out there enforcing their own brand of justice while jeopardizing the credibility of a million good cops, trying their best to do a difficult, dangerous job.

The news media, well that’s probably the only thing President Trump gets right. The media is only as good as the next, true or contrived headline.

Mike Tomlin, the Steelers head coach apparently felt it was more important to be “respectful of our football team” than to be respectful of the right, of Offensive Tackle Alejandro Villanueva, to honor the National Anthem.

Villanueva, a former Army Ranger with three tours of duty in Afghanistan, stood alone at the end of the tunnel, his hand over his heart, while the rest of the team huddled in the locker room.

Maybe we need to look to a soldier. One who knows the value of sacrifice for the better good. One who is not afraid to step up and into danger for the sake of others.

Maybe we just need a mother to give them all a time out. Take away their devices. Have them sit quietly for ten minutes alone and think about what is important in their lives and look at the real reason for their behavior.

In a “sign of unity”, team players stood, sat, kneeled, or failed to go on the field at all during the playing of the National Anthem.

Owners and the NFL who in the past have penalized players for celebrating touchdowns, taunting others and carrying sharpies in their shoes, failed to show anywhere near a unified front in addressing the behavior on the sidelines.

Fans booed, players did whatever they wanted, owners and the NFL failed to control what will no doubt become the symbol of the 2017 football season, and Donald Trump blew yet another chance to be like a president.

Lock the door when you leave, and don’t forget the lights.

 

 

 

Fitting In

http://www.bestloseweight.org/diet-plan-nutra/

 

 Hand me downs were a part of my life growing up. All the families we knew passed along gently worn clothing from the older kids to the younger ones.

As I was the oldest in my family, I got stuff from cousins who got stuff from their older siblings and so on.

After being used by two or three other kids for a year or two each, the pants I eventually inherited could have been as old as me.

The “gently worn” moniker became more like, “not much left.”

But my mom would patch and sew, shorten and take in the waist to make them fit and workable for one more year or until a new batch of new used clothing would come my way.

The parts of the jeans that took the most abuse naturally, were the knees.

This would be resolved by ironing on patches made of some kind of pressed asphalt material that would once again allow the pants to stand on their own.

If those four inch square patches were attached to the outside, it was obvious they were patched. When put on the inside they weren’t so obvious but the abrasions to my knees were.

New stuff was for the start of school. Usually a pair or two of jeans. You know, the kind that could be heard walking down the hallway.

Denim was heavy duty in those days with double stitched seams, and the rivets on the pockets would lacerate your hands if you weren’t careful.

The waist as usually one or two sizes too big and was “taken in” by sewing a folded over portion on either side so they wouldn’t fall down.

Cuffs were always folded up twice, waiting for the inevitable growth spurt which quickly surpassed the length, resulting in a high-water look.

Pants and I haven’t been a good fit for many years now.

I still have some like new 34 inch waist slacks hanging in the closet, anxiously waiting for me to lose twenty or thirty pounds.

The length stays the same but the waist (on the pants) for some reason, contracts.

I had gotten a pair of brand new expensive (well over $20) jeans as a gift which promptly shrank in the closet after only one or two wearings.

Then, one day on a whim I tried them on again.

They fit.

Wow I must be losing weight.

I promptly went to show Sue how much waist room there was and in fact, these were  too big for me now.

She quietly explained that the ones I once had were given to Goodwill and replaced by another pair of a more fitting size.

“A 40 inch waist? What am I going to do with pants of that size?”

“Don’t worry,” she replied. “You’ll grow into ’em.”

 

Back in ’67

Skype-Anyone

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/02/50-years-ago-a-look-back-at-1967/516174/

 

Trolling For Clams

Approaching the border we had all our credentials in order but when I handed the passports over I had fumbled around and failed to have one of them opened to the right page.

Whether it was his cynicism or just a dry sense of humor, the border guard made quick note of that. “After all that work you still didn’t get it right.”

“Where you headed?” he asked.

“Lake Pak ash a kan” I replied, or something like that.

As he turned away he mumbled what I assumed to be, the correct pronunciation which was nothing like what I had said.

Just as we laugh at those from south of the border trying to pronounce simple Wisconsin names like Wausau, Weyauwega or Oconomowoc.

“Any weapons, tobacco, drugs? How much alcohol are your carrying (as if Wisconsinites can’t leave home without it)? One case of beer, I replied.

Then he made another comment that I took to mean “have a nice day.”

I was wrong.

“That wasn’t a comment but a question” he stated. My look of confusion and the long line of cars behind us no doubt influenced his decision not to bother with me any longer.

“Have a nice trip.”

We were now in Canada-going fishing!

Lake Pakashkan is about 125 miles from Thunder Bay which is 500 miles from Green Bay. The last 40 or so, down unmarked logging roads.

11706 acres of sunken islands, rocks and sandbars with a little water here and there just to make you think it’s safe to drive a boat.

Virtually everything has to be brought in. Food, fuel, bait, toilet paper. Otherwise it’s 40 miles back over those same washboard gravel roads to the nearest town, Upsula, which may or may not have what you need.

Naturally the weather was cold, raining, and windy but after ten hours of driving we launched the boats anyway.

And caught fish. Lots of fish.

The rule was; “nothing under 16 inches, nothing over 18” but a big one could go into “the book.”

“The book” was started around 2002 and contained  pertinent information about landing  a Northern Pike over 35 inches or a Walleye over 24.

These were caught in places such as “Jon’s Hole, Harry’s Hideout, Hog Run” and included the time, place, type of bait used and of course, the name of the one who caught it.

Fish were caught, measured and released but once in the book, bragging rights were forever.

It’s an honor system.

Some, it seems might have been just a little less than honorable over the years but hey, that’s fishing.

The biggest Walleye recorded was 33 1/2 inches caught in 2003 on a jig and crawler while the record Northern was listed as a 47 incher on a rapala in 2010.

No record for the smallest but I do have a picture of one that just has to qualify as the smallest fish ever recorded-here or anywhere else. Hannas-fish.pdf

We did place a couple bets on the biggest for the day between the boats. I won one with a 21 inch Walleye and lost the other to a 24 incher.

The latter also went into “the book.”

Nights were filled with, what else but eating fresh fish, cooking for ten and listening to the stories of the day and past trips.

Tough Fishing

Games of ‘Liar’s Dice’ and banter lasted until the last dog was hung.

Morning came early with coffee brewed in a real coffee pot on the propane fueled stove, a pocket full of licorice, beef sticks or trail mix and we were off.

Just like the Post Office, “neither rain nor sleet nor black of night….” lightning was about the only thing that would keep us from  stalking lunker “eyes.”

Breakfast around 9 followed by more fishing ’til 430 then supper, followed by more fishing, ’til dark.

Catch fish, clean fish, eat fish, tell lies, sleep, repeat.

Someone discovered an new way to make old fashionds with crushed cherry starbursts and carbonated water. Plus booze and bitters, of course.

Some will say it’s just about the fish but others contend it’s  bonding with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors and finding adventure on foreign soil.

It’s the fish.

And some of that other stuff.

Saw a moose.

All clams were released unharmed.

Lake Pakashkan (Pa-cashˊ-kun).

No More Butt Crack Jokes From Me

Why plumbers are more important than doctors.

There are around 800,000 practicing doctors in the US, from general practitioners to neurosurgeons and cardiologists.

That’s roughly one for every 370 people.

But, there is only one plumber, pipefitter or steamfitter available for every 500 people if the real emergency comes along.

After thirty years or so of being a member of the SIUM (screwing it up myself) club, I have finally decided it’s time to call in a specialist.

You know, one who can tell the difference from a compression fitting and a plunger.

SIUM-The Hard Way

  • Water finds a way. No matter how hard you tighten, how much you putty or how often you employ the magic words, water will find a way to leak into an area where it will cause the most damage.
  • If you notice a small “bubble” in the ceiling paint-don’t touch it! That thin coat of paint is the only thing standing between your breakfast and the many-years build up of stuff seeping from the bathroom shower above.
  • Sweating joints has nothing to do with the gym.
  • There is no such thing as “standard” when it comes to parts and fittings. Each manufacturer or commercial supplier offers different parts for the same brand of fixture. This, by design frustrates the SIUMs of the world and no doubt, keeps the professionals punching a clock.
  • Measure everything (see above). A shower stall bought from the local SIUM store is not the same size as the one that came with the house thirty years ago. I have since solved the problem, by showering sideways.
  • Necessary tools for all SIUMs: plunger, snake and a BFH (not found on Face Book).
  • The plunger: This handy tool is the first line of defense when the toilet is running over with who-knows-what, spilling onto the floor and running down the stairs. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use this particular item-you won’t be able to find it anyway.
  • The flexible power closet auger or “snake”. This device can extend up to 25 feet into the toilet bowl, through traps and junctions, almost to the point where it is needed. It is guaranteed to loosen up and release years of trapped sewer gas and unknown chemical compounds, right into your face. A good gag reflex is a must.
  • The BFH-no explanation necessary. Simply apply, and then call a real plumber. You will have caused considerable damage to your home but the feeling of smashing the dirty rotten porcelain bastard into oblivion, will be well worth it.

I can’t tell you the name of my doctor but I’m confident that if I have a heart attack, someone will call 911 and there will be a qualified professional waiting to take care of me.

My plumber-is on speed dial.

 

Why Is It?

Why is it, when I try to pass someone who is traveling in the slow lane-he speeds up?

Gone Fishing

Matt’s Walleye

 

 

 

My Northern

 

 

See You Next Week!

Not a Northern

True Grit

http://www.grit.com/grit-history/

 

 

“Hey Mr. Johnson, Can I interest  you  in the worlds’ most informative and fun, fact-filled newspaper in America?”

“Huh. Who are you?” he asked,

“I’m your neighbor, Lawrence Wilson. Don’t you remember? I helped find your lost dog last week?”

“Well, I don’t buy from strangers and especially door to door salesmen.”

“Hm. Hope you dog runs away again you crabby old fart.”

“Hello Mr. Anderson.”

And so it went. “The opportunity to make a fortune,” the add promised. “Put yourself through college, attract girls and be the envy of all your friends.”

So much for that. I couldn’t sell enough copies of ‘Grit'(or anything like it) to buy a pack of gum, let alone a fancy car or get girls.

I’d be lucky to get out of 5th grade.

Opportunities came and went, along with their respective fortunes.

Sell ……” “Learn Real Estate.” “Become a Licensed Financial Planner in only six weeks.” “Earn Real Wealth with …..”

It all came to a head while working my way through college. I got a summer job selling Cancer Insurance which was the new way to address the rising costs of treatment.

My boss/mentor had an opening line that went something like this. We would pull up to a new-looking home with the owner outside, painting.

Mr. Salesman of The Year would walk up and start a conversation.

“Nice looking home you got here. Is it new?” Why thanks replied Mr. Homeowner. Then the hook. “I’d sure hate to see you lose it if you or a loved one got cancer.”

About that time, Mr. Homeowner would either run for the shotgun or let the dogs loose.

After three months of going hungry and flinching every time I heard a dog bark, I got a job as a bartender.

Eventually I found something that required no selling, no convincing, and I didn’t really have to talk to anyone.

All I had to do was run into burning buildings.

Yep, I got a job as a firefighter.

After 30 years or so and yes, I did talk to people from time to time.

Stuff like “Change your clock, change your smoke detector battery.”

“Stop, drop and roll.”

Stuff like that.

Then one day a friend called and invited me to help sell boats at a Midwest boat show.

I was retired and who knows maybe now I can get it. “Sure, I’ll be there.”

He sent some literature with instructions. “Just know everything about these boats. Watch a You Tube video or two and come prepared to sell.”

Right.

Thirteen makes and models, along with all the various sizes and prices. Fishing, sport, ski, pontoons, deck boats, day boats, cruisers.  And about a hundred options to boot.

Nightmares of fifth grade came rushing back. I broke into a cold sweat and didn’t sleep for days, waiting for the inevitable rejection and failure.

“Sorry about your house, mister.”

“Hi folks, see anything you like?” “Just looking,” they replied as they hurried away.

“How are you today?” (Nothing).

As if I were a leper, the closer I got to people the farther they shied away.

Then I tried the tactic of hovering between the boats while they looked. You know, like the used car salesman who suddenly appears out of nowhere when you stop to look at a car. He just pops up like a groundhog at Chuck ‘E’ Cheese.

Two women who were interested in a pontoon boat stopped and I led them to our show special. “Yes Mam, 22 feet of deck with a captain’s console, room for eight and a 150 horse engine pushing her.”

I no sooner got them on board than another salesman started up a conversation with them. It seems that they all vacationed in the same area, of Wisconsin. Sounded like they might have been neighbors or something.

After about ten minutes of being ignored, I just sort of faded away, back down to the fishing boats.

Forget about the cruisers, the bow riders….

At least I knew which end was which on the fishing boats. The pointed end is the front (bow). Right (starboard) left (port).

The horsepower is printed on the engine so even I could get it right just by looking.

Finally, a middle aged man and his son approached, looked around and settled on one of the more expensive models, a 20 footer with a walk-through windshield, 200 horse motor.

“We’ll take this one, he said. With these options. “Ok I replied, I’ll write it up.” “But we have a few questions.”

Oh, great. More questions about options, packages, trailer accessories and about seven other things I knew nothing about.

I got another guy to come over and help. I got my manager to help. In fact, he not only spent several hours with the buyer but closed the deal and wrote it up.

Ka-ching!

First one in the bank. Wow. My first commission ever, and it was a big one.

Not to say that I didn’t really do anything to earn it. Just said “hi” and handed them over like a quarterback to the running back for the heavy work.

Ka-ching!

Sold one other just like that. Actually it was the manager’s previous customers who stopped by and bought not one, but two boats.

I was on a roll.

Then they started to close down the show. This was the last day. They didn’t need me again until next year.

Next year? I’m rolling now. I’m selling. Now.

They thanked me for my efforts and promised to call in January when the shows start up again.

January? I was just getting the hang of it. What am I supposed to do ’til January?

“Dear Grit……..”

http://www.grit.com/grit-history/