Friday, July 31

"Hang 'Em High!!"

In my growing up days in rural North Carolina, it was a common site to observe, behind or to the side of house after house, freshly laundered articles of clothing fluttering in the breeze. Mother nature's warm sun was given the task of drying load after never ending load of laundry, each having had as much moisture squeezed out from the crumpled folds as the hand-cranked wringers atop the tub washing machine could extract. It was the rare and noteworthy oddity if a particular farming family in the immediate community also possessed an electric powered dryer. These blessed folks were considered to be rich beyond comparison, only being trumped by the truly well-off farmer who not only possessed the requisite two mules to work the land, but a John Deere tractor to boot. That was considered to be living in "high cotton" indeed! The patriarchs of the family farms that I rubbed shoulders with as a young boy considered the mere thought of spending good money on an electric dryer to be a subject void of any lingering discussion. I'm pretty sure, however, that the matriarchs of those same families collectively would have voiced a differing opinion. That nullifying decision having been made, the affixing of the family's weekly laundry on row after row of sagging clotheslines remained the accepted and necessary practice.

Our more affluent city cousins, flush with additional expendable capital, opted to forgo the free drying benefits of solar power and readily embraced the convenience of an inexpensive Sears & Roebuck electric dryer. Ah, the good life.... No more did the lady of the house have to trudge back and forth from washing machine to clothesline to hang and retrieve her family laundry, making absolutely certain that any of her "unmentionables" were discreetly obscured from public view on an available line between the the bed sheets and towels. (This during the era when Ricky & Lucy slept in separate beds and television advertisers dared only mention toilet paper euphemistically as "T.P.") Now the little lady could remain sequestered in the comfort and privacy of her own home, saving countless hours attending to the thankless task of assuring her family had fleshly laundered clothes.

Here's the rub... Seems what once was old is new again. A growing number of our city cousins have determined, for various reasons (to save money and/or to do their small part in addressing what they consider to be the global warming issue), why not string up a few clotheslines out behind the house? Whatever floats your pontoon, I always say. However, not so fast... Entering into this back-to-nature excursion like a bull in a china shop comes the proprietors of community standards; the all too powerful condominium and home owner's associations who are dictating that one can't just decide to willy-nilly string up a bunch of non-compliant clotheslines within the confines of their well-manicured communities...even if it does save the planet from going up in an inglorious puff of smoke. So heated (pardon the pun) and acrimonious has the debate become in some communities that the issue is being weighed in local courts of law.

Me personally? I hope the clothesline aficionados win every single one of their cases. Not that I buy into this wholesale scam that global warming is going to cause the Gulf of Mexico to soon begin lapping at my backdoor if we all don't immediately begin to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but because I thoroughly enjoy the prospect of deflating the pompous balloons of the few who in far too many instances narrowly dictate the parameters of how one is to conduct one's affairs based on their closely held convictions of propriety. Give me a break... The argument that spider-webbing one's backyards with clotheslines filled with laundry is somehow going to further reduce the value of their neighbor's home might hold some degree of validity if every other house on the block didn't already have a for sale sign stuck in the front yard.

You can't have it both way people.... Don't jump up on your soapbox and out of one side of your mouth preach to me that we all need to junk our gas-guzzling SUVs for more fuel efficient vehicles, re-cycle and conserve by any means possible, and then out of the other side of your mouth tell some cash-strapped family trying to keep their home from going into foreclosure that they have to continue to use their electric dryer so that your neighborhood doesn't sacrifice it's pristine flavor.

String 'em up people...and if you have any nylon clothesline left over, hang your laundry on it as well. (I'll be along later to check out your unmentionables.)

Wednesday, July 29

"I'm A Little Late To The Party, But..."


I'd be a thoroughly rich man if I could collect a penny for every word that has been spoken and written to date about the incident that occurred on July 16th that involved the now infamous Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates (pictured above) and Sergeant James Crowley, he of the Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Department, which resulted in Professor Gates being arrested for disorderly conduct. Unless you has been sequestered in the back room of a Chucky Cheese for the past twelve days since the incident initially occurred, being void of the benefit of access to the outside world, you know the particulars of this "He said, he said" debacle. Therefore, my reiterating the nuances of what transpired that evening at this advanced time would serve no further illuminating purpose. What really royally ticks me off is the persistent mindset of far too many African Americans (let's be politically correct here) who continue to go through life with a racially prejudice chip on their collective shoulders that consumes their day-to-day countenance. For God's sake people...give it a rest!

Yes dear hearts, there still exists in this country individuals, possessing the mental acuity of fermenting yeast, who regard any persons dissimilar to themselves to be despicably inferior and thus worthy only of pointed ridicule and ceaseless persecution. I get that...and I detest this predilection of flawed character in such debased individuals with every fiber of my being. But let's not forget that as a nation with have made tremendous strides in looking beyond the color of an individuals skin tone, as I would hope is evidenced by the election of a man of color to the highest administrative office in the land by a majority of American citizens of every ethnic stripe. Let one not also dismiss as incidental the now decades old institution of affirmative action that has bent over backwards to level the playing field for purposefully depressed minorities. Yet there remains individuals such as the ilk of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Lois Gates who continue to harbor a conspiratorial philosophy that within the heart of every white man lurks the desire to place the black man again at the rear of the bus and under the thumb of white society. I've got an idea...shut the hell up!!

I, admittedly to a small degree, understand racial prejudice, insensitivity and injustice. Have I ever been denied a place at a lunch counter because of my skin color? No. Have I ever been told that I couldn't attend a particular public school, or select a seat of my own choosing on a public conveyance, or be forced to drink from a separate drinking fountain, or told that because I was black that if I wished to watch a movie I would have to do so only from the balcony? Have I ever been roused from peaceful sleep to find a cross burning in my front yard, or witnessed a loved one being beaten within an inch of their life, or had my family ripped apart at an overseer's whim? The answer to all of these questions is unequivocally "No." But I grew in the rural south of the 50s where the school for the negro children in my agrarian community resembled something more akin to a dilapidated tobacco barn than it did to a school building. Where I was almost tossed over the protective railing of a fire escape to a coal bin thirty feet below by a insufferable bully in my sixth grade class who called me a "Nigger Lover" because I dared speak out publicly as a mere child against the inhuman treatment of blacks. So yes, I have some degree of empathy for the struggles that my black brothers and sisters have had to endure in order to be even considered and ultimately treated as equal participants in this country's promise and pledge of equality.

So, Professor Gates, let me state emphatically that you made a complete ass out of yourself, showing your true colors as a person of deeply rooted racial prejudice that is more intent on fanning the flames of racial tension than being the champion of understanding and cooperation between the races that you so erroneously and ingloriously purport yourself to be. You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, sir.

When you sit down tomorrow to have a beer with Officer Crowely and President Obama, you might wish to use that opportunity as a true "teachable moment" by being painfully mindful that jumping to conclusions not based in fact is a sure way to set back race relations by leaps and bounds. You might also reminisce on the words of the true patriot of racial harmony, Dr. Martin Luther King, who through nonviolence and enduring respect for law and order preached to his dying breath that a man is to be judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. Officer Crowely demonstrated on the evening of July 16th that he understood that principle of human interaction. You and President Obama might now wish to get on board as well. That sir, would be long overdue step in the right direction on your part.

Tuesday, July 21


When the Lunar Module "Eagle" landed on the moon July 20, 1969, I was on combat training maneuvers at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; a 21 year old, slick-sleeved airman participating in combat-readiness field exercises to become a member of the Air Force air police. When at 3:18 p.m. central time it was announced that "The Eagle Has Landed," a tremendous, pride-filled cheer echoed forth from the throats of a hundred plus men, all who were dogged-tired and sweat-soaked, but filled with renewed exhilaration to perform our best as fellow members of our country's military. It was a moment of awe and wonder. "Imagine," I thought to myself later that same evening as I laid under the Texas stars and stared intently at the orange globe that was just rising above the horizon, "for the first my life time to boot...there are actual human beings walking on that surface..and those humans are Americans!" It was then, as it remains even unto this day, an emotional experience that defies my limited ability to gasp.

Now forty years later, I hope I never lose that sense of wonder and pride. I hope that some day we Americans will again return to the moon's surface and even look far beyond that tiny globe to distant destinations that for now we can only dream about. For it is in the dreams of mere children that great accomplishments are given initial birth and the stars no longer seem unobtainable. When we cease to give wings to our dreams, we cease to fly. When we cease to fly, we lose the will to try. And when we lose the will to try, we lose the will to live. It is best to dream and give flight to all that has yet to be accomplished. Therein lies life lived to the fullest.

I pray that I will live long enough to be again awestruck by man's audacity to seek and find the wonders of God's universe that lies just beyond our imagination, to strike our earthbound tents and indeed to venture forth to where no man has ever gone before. What an adventure!!

Saturday, July 11

"Lost In Translation..."

"I choose to run for the presidency at this time in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we prefect our union by understanding that we have different stories, but we hold common hope; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for our children and grandchildren."

Thus spoke candidate Barack Obama in Philadelphia on March 2008 as he gave his then defining speech on race relations. It's a pity that the good citizens of Huntingdon Park (a suburb of Philadelphia) failed to hear Barack's speech, but most likely they determined that such words, soliciting the continuing unification of the races, applied to all other Americans but themselves.

Late last month a group of 65 inner-city, minority children - kindergarten through seventh grade - arrived at The Valley Club privately owned swimming pool in anticipation of enjoying a fun-filled afternoon of water activities. The children's arrival evoked an immediate disconcertion among the club members, many of whom expressed verbalized outrage in the form of racial comments that a number of the visiting children heard and were understandably upset by. It apparently made no difference that the Creative Steps Day Care had previously pre-paid a $1,950 fee to utilize the pool on successive Monday afternoon for the balance of the summer; the Huntingdon Valley parent's made it painfully clear that they wanted their children to have no contact with these unwashed invaders from the city. As the club members extracted their precious little one from the pool, one of the fine upstanding female club members, her arms defiantly folded across her chest, stated that she would see to it that the group would not return. I'd like to meet this I could slap her across her smug face! Perhaps then she would understand in kind the sting of real racism she arrogantly inflected upon those innocent children.

Adding insult to outrage, the Valley Club took continued to take the low road and refunded the Day Camp's fee without explanation. Club President John Duesler, apparently fond of placing his foot in his mouth, later told a local television station that although the motivation for denying future utilizaton by the day camp children to the pool was not racially based, it was done so because several of the members complained that the children (from the day camp) "fundamentally changed the the atmosphere" at the pool. Further attempts by local media outlets to contact Mr. Duesler for follow up interviews have thus far proven futile. Understandable...when the going gets tough the self-righteous snobs find it best to hide under their couches until the storm blows over.

I admit it. I am prejudice. I detest laziness, incompetence and arrogance. Were I a member of The Valley Club I would instantly withdraw my membership and without hesitation look each remaining offending member square in the face and pin their arrogant ears back with a verbal tongue lashing that would last long after the Valley Club's pool had been drained for the fall. No wonder the races in this country continue to look with suspicion and distrust upon one another. Even after 146 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation too many of we Americans still can't even find it in our hearts to allow a bunch of children to cool off in a swimming pool without getting our misguided sense of property all bent out of shape.

Barack may truly believe that as Americans we all share in the common goal of securing a better future for our children and grandchildren. But in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, that goal still comes with racial strings attached. These conceited egotist should be thoroughly ashamed of their conduct. But my guess is that within the narrow passageways of their elitist minds, that thought remains foreign to each and every one of them.

Wednesday, July 8

"What's Wrong With Our Priorites?"

This? Or This?

Let me make it perfectly clear... I recognize the passing of Michael Jackson leaves a perceptible void in the entertainment industry. On a scale of one to ten, however, I rank Jackson's death or the entertainment industry having any significant impact on my life as a minus 10! In a phrase, I don't give a flying Oscar!

Here's what I do care about and what I consider to be of utmost importance in my life and the longevity of our country...the men and women of no notoriety...who seek no notoriety...but who place their lives in harm's way in lands thousands of miles distance so that I and my family may have some hope and expectation of waking on the 'morrow without the ear-shattering detonation of terrorist bombs exploding in our ears!

There has evolved in this nation a pandemic of political correctness that has given license to an "orgy of glorification" for every pop idol that garners even five minutes of notoriety that is going to be the eventual death knell for us all if we don't soon wise up and place into balance the difference between celebrity and servant. It is increasingly rare that the Hollyweird-types bring anything of lasting substance to the table to further the betterment of mankind but a myopic audience of worshippers who are additively enthralled to gorge themselves day in and day out on their antiseptic smiles, breast augmentations, catchy lyrics, and occasionally a well delivered line of dialogue. Starlets who can't seem to be bothered with the necessity of wearing underwear before going out into public is not my idea of a role model that I or anyone who possesses even a shred of decorum would wish to emulate, much less devote 10 seconds of one's time acknowledging their pathetic existence.

Bottom line... Michael Jackson was an entertainer. Nothing more...nothing less. A singular mortal soul who in times of lucidity shared his riches and God-give talents to causes bigger and better than himself. A hero, however, he was not. You want to meet real heroes? Next time you cross paths with a police officer, a fire-fighter or a member of our uniformed military forces, shake their hands and give thanks to God above (if you even entertain a notion that a supreme being actually exists in your narrowly defined world) that these real heroes go unsung so that you may continue to renew your subscription to People Magazine and plop yourself down nightly to stare vapidly at another edition of E!

And while you're at it...try and get yourself something that even remotely resembles a life!

Friday, July 3

For The 233rd Time..."


I just completed reading the book The Lone Survivor that was written by and is about retired Petty Officer First Class, Marcus Luttrell, the recipient of the U.S. Navy's highest and most prestigious decoration, the Navy Cross, awarded for valor in the face of the enemy. As a proud warrior member of the Navy SEALs, one the most fierce fighting units in our nation's arsenal of combat ready weaponry, Petty Officer Luttrell was deployed to Afghanistan in June, 2005. On the 28th of that month he and three other members of SEAL Team 10 - Michael P. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson - were airlifted into the Hindu-Kush mountains and given the assignment to find, capture or kill Ahmad Shah, he being the identified leader of a growing Taliban army that had committed atrocious acts of terrorism throughout that region.

Dropped in the middle of one of the most desolate regions in the world, made even more perilous by the presence of the Taliban enemy that freely operated all around their location, SEAL Team 10 set about the task of securing an observation post for the purpose of gaging whether or not a small inconspicuous Afghan village a mile into the valley below was the current center of refuge for their assigned prey. As they stealthily went about the business of establishing their perimeter of operation, three goat herders - comprised of two adult males and one male teen believed to be approximately 14 years of age - stumbled upon SEAL Team 10's location. The dilemma instantly facing the team was what to do with these three - all suspected to be Taliban sympathizers - free them or kill them. A heated debate ensued and a vote taken, the result of which was to let them go. Each knew and genuinely feared that such a humanitarian decision could place the team's very survival in mortal danger. That fear became real when within an hour of the three locals release all hell broke loose from above and on both of their flanks.

For several hours thereafter the team members engaged in a withering gun battle against 30 to 40 Tailban enemy fighters, forcing the team to retreat to lower and lower defensive positions on the mountain in a valiant but losing effort to keep the relentless enemy from over-running their position. Turrell, in the book, goes into extensive, gut-wrenching detail describing the horrific circumstances under which the team was desperately trying to survive, the ultimate result being the death to his fellow team members due to the repeated multiple, horrific gunshot wounds each received. Turrell only managed to survive the initial battle as a result of a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) that struck the ground in front of him, propelling him backwards over a precipice where he landed several hundred feet below into a rocky outcropping, out of immediate sight of the Al-Qaeda soldiers still determined to kill the remaining American soilder.

Determined to remain illusive from his pursuers, Turrell managed to limp little and crawl mostly for seven hours until he was discovered by Pashtun tribesmen from the village of Sabray, who carefully transported him back to their village and administered to his many battle wounds. believing, as part of their code of honor, that any wounded man must be cared for and protected from his enemies regardless of the man's origin or intent, and regardless of the potential repercussions such an act of humanitarianism might inflict upon the village inhabitants. Six days after the initial battle of "Murphy's Ridge," the Psahtun villagers managed to sheppard Turrell through the mountains until they came into contact with an advancing unit of the Army Rangers who were searching for what they hoped were still survivors of the SEAL Team 10.

It was at this time that Turrell learned of a failed rescue mission that been mounted by fellow SEALs, who had immediately sprung into action to answer a distress call that had been received from SEAL Team 10 during the height of the battle. While attempting to disembark the members of the rescue mission from the rear of Chinook helicopter, an enemy fired RPG slammed into the hovering aircraft, bursting it instantly into a fiery inferno, killing all 16 men aboard. With that explosion the most disastrous day in SEAL history had come to a close.

Perhaps I have embarked into far too much detail in reporting the overall text of Lone Survivor. This post is not about the book. My purpose is to convey to any fellow citizen who may happen to come across this personal 4th of July message that our country owes a debt of gratitude to Marcus Luttrell and the 18 brave men who died on that lonely mountain 8,000 miles aways from the safety of our shores that we mere civilians can never begin to repay. The debt of undying gratitude must be further extended in genuine homage to the thousands of other brave men and women of our country's military that through the decades of waging our country's battles have paid the ultimate sacrifice, each with their own personal stories that unfolded in grisly detail in the midst of the dense fog of battle. Stories that are even now only known and forever remembered by their fellow combatants who watched in numbing horror as their buddies fell forever silent beside them.

This country was forged out of the clashing steel of war. This country has survived and become a beacon of freedom and hope to the world due in great part to the supreme sacrifices that the men and women of our military forces have made down through the decades to safeguard our principles of freedom. "Freedom is never free." The price that has been paid for our freedom runs blood crimson as the red in our nation's flag. Today, as we celebrate joyously the 233rd birthday of our nation's founding, wherever you are on this day and whenever you see Old Glory flying, look with reverence and heartfelt gratitude to the red stripes stirring in the summer breeze...and remember the blood so unselfishly sacrificed so that on this day you still have the opportunity of life, liberty and the unencumbered freedom to pursue happiness.

God Bless America and the men and women who serve her faithfully in our stead.

"How's This Working Out For You?"

In the early stages of his Presidency Abraham Lincoln commissioned a blue ribbon panel of the nation's most prominent scholars to determine the answer to the following question. "What in life can be defined as always remaining constant?" After many months of arduous discussion and debate, these men of letters reported back to the President their mutually agreed upon finding. Their conclusion..."Change." Of all the variables that exist in the physical universe, change is the most constant.

So, let me ask you... After six months of our 44th President of our United States being at the helm of our ship of state, "How's that working out for you?" Is Barack Obama's pre-election slogan of "Change We Can Believe In" still in your heart of hearts change you can believe in...or even barely tolerate??

On the eve of our nation celebrating it's 233rd birthday, I am reticent to delve into a detailed illumination of the myriad of radical policies and socialistic agenda set forth thus far by President Obama, each and all being worshipfully embraced by the Democratic controlled Congress. Excluding the biased liberal news media that either ignores our President's foibles or spins them favorably to the contrary, any person who chooses to be personally invested in the direction that our country is headed at breakneck speed must surely realize that our elected officials in Washington are hellbent on taking the governance of this country out of the capable hands of the electorate and assuming all such powers unto themselves. What we may feel or fervently express to the contrary is no longer relevant in their view. These pompous suits have convinced themselves that they know better than do we what is "best" for our country. I personally strongly protest this prevalent egotistical and dictatorial mindset.

To suggest, as does Washington's governing elite and parroted daily by the liberal media, that the State of our Union is on the threshold of recovering from its economic woes is to deny the verifiable sources that factually state the opposite. To apathetically believe the Obama administration's spin that the nation's unemployment rate has slowed significantly and thus heralds the ushering in of a complete economic recovery is to ignore the devastating consequences for the people who were among those individuals that just this month or this week lost their jobs. It is not unlike a news story of a crash of a commercial airliner in which the initial reports stated that all souls on board had perished, only to be revised exuberantly in a later report that indeed there had been one lone survivor. Yes, we should celebrate and be thankful that this one soul was spared. But the fact of the matter remains, the plane did smash violently into the ground and the carnage is grotesquely evident everywhere. For God's sakes people, quite believing Obama and his lackey Congressional torch bearers when they continue to pee on your socks and tell you it's only raining! There's carnage in the land that is devastating the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans.

Want to see what "Change you can believe in" will look like in the coming months and years for you and your children unless we take concerted action to bring this tax and spend madness to a stop? Reach deep into both of you pant pockets and pull the fabric out so that each is turned inside out. That's all that you and your children will have left after Obama and Congress enact all of their intended socialistic programs. So, I ask you again, how do you like all of this change you've been promised? Come the mid-term elections in 2010 you can take matters into your own hands once again and vote for candidates that believe that the money you earn is best left in your discretionary care. Or you can continue to be idealistic and/or empathic and believe that President Obama does indeed walk on water and he will soon part the Red Seas of "Hope" enabling you to walk unscathed to the distant shore of bountiful prosperity. Just mindlessly fork over a little more of your hard-earned take home pay (if you can even find another job that pays reasonable wages) and all will be well again in your little world. Well...good luck with that...

Thursday, July 2

"Here's Looking Up Your Old Address..."

She and her husband were on vacation from Scotland. A delightful middle-aged couple with travelogue Scottish accents that were as thick as creamed potatoes. They were staying in the same Holiday Inn as were we, visiting with their son who had driven up from Naples, Florida. I met them secondarily after Judi had initially taken it upon herself to be a good Samaritan, walked down to where the couple was lounging by the pool, and suggest that it might be a good idea if they both find shelter from the sun.

We relinquished out spots under the umbrella so that they might have some much needed shade. "It gets a wee bit warmish here, don't it laddie?" was her introductory comment as she gingerly eased herself into the lounge chair. To say that she and her husband were overly cooked doesn't quite convey the vision that both presented. I've got a Christmas tie that is less red than were these two...especially the poor woman who, I suspected, would emit a soft glow once the sun went down. Judi and I pitied them both, knowing that the night ahead was going to be anything but restful for them. There is little else more agonizing than desperately trying to fall asleep when the cotton sheets rubbing against your skin feels like sandpaper.

This couple was typical of the folks we "people-watched" as Judi and I leisurely enjoyed our three day get-away-from-it-all mini vacation a couple of weekends ago. The parade of humanity we attentively witnessed populating the pool area during those three days was a potpourri of shapes and sizes and ethnic varieties that would make the General Assembly of the United Nations proud...many of which apparently did not own a full length mirror that would have instantly cast aspersions on any considered thoughts of their venturing out into public wearing a bathing suit. I realize that horizontally-challenged people (Read: "ample") have just as much right to enjoy a relaxing time at the pool as anyone else, but the vision they purposefully present to the casual observer is anything but stimulating. If there was one there was a half dozen overly-large women who had match sticks for ankles that were laboring to hold erect a body that resembled a dirigible in need of a docking station. Stuffing all of that glorious flesh into a one-piece suit in and of itself was an engineering feat, but to go throw all caution to the wind and do so wearing a two-piece ensemble brought tears of hilarity to our eyes. Never has there been so much asked of so little to covered so much.

Of course there were specimens a plenty of women all ages present that weekend for whom the French designers of the bikini had in mind when they opted to revolutionize the female swimwear fashion industry. If much is best to be left to the imagination, some of these women didn't get the memo. Several bikini-clad women sported tattoos that covered more than did their suits, and the word "cleavage" had ample opportunity to bountifully and unabashedly express itself. One 30ish extroverted female from Detroit began drinking alcoholic libations as soon as the pool bar opened at 9 a.m., and by 1 p.m. she was a total wreck. Her boyfriend was finally summoned from inside the bar to retrieve his lady-fair before she was destined to slip, drink in hand, beneath the water's surface.

That one-woman show was soon replaced by another female who, it was decided by Judi and me an another couple sitting close to us who were just as intent on watching the proceedings as were we, was of a foreign heritage, most likely German, based on her dialect. It is a generally accepted assumption that Europeans - especially the French - have much more of a laisse-faire attitude when it comes to appreciating one's body image. This young lady was the poster child for that mindset. She sauntered along the side of the pool in a two-piece thingy that would make a nudist take a second, if not a third look. I turned to my fellow male observer and casually stated, "I'm willing to take a wager on how long it takes before she attracts a pod of male shark admirers." "That's a fool's bet, my friend." And indeed it was. Almost instantaneously the water around her had been whipped into a white froth by a small gaggle of men who were trolling for more than just casual conversation. To chum the waters of testosterone even further, she seductively removed her suit bottoms. Needless to say, all eyes were glued to this turn of events. No, she didn't bear all, but damn well close to it. Think back, if you will, to when cowboy shows in the 50s were an afternoon TV viewing staple. Remember the thin little string ties they wore to keep their ten gallon hats from flying off? There's a cowboy even now looking for his tie, and boy would he be surprised to learn where it ended up.

My poolside friend asked, "Well, what do you think of that?" I replied, "When you get to be my age and see something like that, the best I can hope for is to run to the very end of my chain and bark!"

I admit it. I enjoy being a people watcher...especially in an environment where every day practiced decorum is given a holiday. It beats otherwise sitting around and watching the paint peal off the barn door. Excuse me while I roll up my chain and return to my doghouse in watchful anticipation for my next encounter with the uninhibited.