Tuesday, March 24

"Assume The Position..."

Dateline: FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Apparently attempting to resolve martial difficulties takes a less than a conventional approach in this fair burg. Let me introduce the estranged wife of one Mr. Robert Drawbough, Helen Sun. Ms. Sun (Don't know why her last name is not the same as is her husband's. Perhaps a further hint as to one of the root causes of their mutual derision.) allegedly wished to reconcile with Mr. Drawbough, and in order to guarantee his undivided attention during Ms. Sun's orchestrated discussions, she handcuffed herself to his person while he was still asleep. The resulting police report also cited that Mr. Drawbough suffered numerous bite marks inflicted on his torso and arms, which leads me to speculate that either Mr. Drawbough was a very poor listener or Ms. Sun had a rather nasty way of emphasizing her point.

While enduring this onslaught of female scorn, Mr. Drawbough somehow managed to grab a close-by cell phone and called 911. (I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall to see how he accomplished that feat.) Upon arriving at the scene, police could clearly hear Mr. Drawbough's screams of distress. Taking Ms. Sun into custody, she attempted to explain that her unorthodox tactics were to assure that her husband would be a participant in the ensuing conversation and not take flight. Apparently, mission accomplished. Mr. Drawbough's wounds were treated at a local hospital, while Ms. Sun was treated to a personal pair of handcuffs and charged with third-degree assault, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment and unlawful restraint. A trifecta, plus one! As a rule I usually shy away from enterprises that involve a personal wager. But in this case I am playing strictly with house money when I say that I'm willing to bet next month's mortgage payment that Ms. Sun's chances of reconciliation with her husband are from this point forward about as good my making a hole in one on a par five!

There have been occasions when handcuffs have come into play in this household. No, it's not what you're thinking. Once Judi handcuffed my golf clubs to the inside of the garage door and the second time she handcuffed me to the kitchen sink until I washed all of the accumulated dirty dishes. These two occasions transpired long before cell phone came into vogue. Unfortunately, no one heard my screams either. Now I am much better at accomplishing my kitchen duties as prescribed by my wife. I get to play more golf that way. However, after having read this story I am going to keep my cell phone under my pillow from now on. One can never be too careful.

Tuesday, March 17

"An Irishman And An American Were Sitting In A Bar At Shannon Airport..."

"I've come to meet me brother," said the Irishman. "He's due to fly in from America in an hour's time. It's his first time back home in almost 40 years."

"Will you be able to recognize him? asked the American.

"I doubt that I will, sir. He's been away for so long."

"I wonder if he will recognize you?" replied the American.

"For sure that he will, sir," said the Irishman emphatically. "Aye, I haven't been away at all!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ah, the Irish... You gotta love 'em. Especially on this their special day when we get to celebrate with them and for one day we can each claim to have a bit of the Irish in us whether or not it can be proved implicitly with a quick scan of the family tree.

I myself lay claim to having a trace of Irish blood running through my veins, even if it is only as faint as weak tea. The name Latchford, my last name, is said to be linked to an Irish heritage. I'll take that on face value. What little research I have conducted, piggybacked on what my father accomplished many years ago, seems to indicate that the main trunk of our family tree is rooted in German linage. But there appears to have been some minor degree of cross pollination that occurred on occasion back in the days before Columbus packed an extra pair of jammies and set off across the ocean blue. My dearly departed Dad didn't put much stock into that theory. But what did he know? He wasn't there. However, Dad was signed to a Boston Red Sox baseball farm team back in the 40s, so there's one more reason for me to lay claim to having at least some Irish affiliation.

There's no indication that my Mother's side of the family had any linkage with the Irish, she being a southern, born and bred, Brown. Her mother was a Douglas. Two sir names that are linked with the old rural south that came into existence just after God invented dirt. My Mother's father, Allen, whose name I bare as a middle name, missed a great opportunity to be Irish, he being able to drink any three men under the table and then be sober enough to chase with gleeful abandon the wives of those inebriated gentlemen. Rumor has it that he was shot by a jealous husband. I think the truth of the matter is that he offered his pickled liver to the Smithsonian. Sounds about right...

So, here's to the Irish...be they the real McCoy or celebratory wannabes. I'll skip the green beer, but may imbibe with a small helping of green eggs and ham and a side of cooked cabbage. To the half a million true Irish persons who marched gleefully today in Dublin...Salute!! Have a pint of bitters on behalf of my departed Grandfather. I'm sure he's appreciate the gesture.

Tuesday, March 10

"On The Road To Perdition..."

A little refresher course in American history... The year is 1763 and the British Crown found itself strapped for cash, having been engaged in the protracted French and Indian War. King George III and his government cronies looked to the American colonies through levied taxes as a means to recoup their war cost and replenish their depleted treasury. As a result the British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act followed by the Townsend Act, neither of which was embraced by the colonist, citing their vehement displeasure for being taxed without having any say (representation) about the legitimacy of either of these taxes. Parliament, fearing a wide-spread revolt in the colonies, repealed all the provisions of the two tax acts except the duty on tea, being convinced that the Americans would rather pay the tax than forgo their love of freshly brewed tea. Wrong assumption.

Two ships loaded with tea arrived off the coasts of New York and Philadelphia. They were refused docking privileges. In Charleston, the ship was permitted to dock, but its cargo of tea was immediately consigned to a locked and guarded warehouse, where it remained until sold later by the colonist to further underwrite the then on-going Revolutionary War. On December 16, 1773, three ships laden with their tea cargo did dock in Boston Harbor, where upon the citizens demanded that ships be sent back out to sea. The Harbor Master refused, citing the ships would not leave until such time as the duty had been paid on the cargo. This demand was met with even greater obstinacy. A group of 200 men, dressed as Indians, marched to Griffin's wharf, boarded the three ships and proceeded to toss the entire contents of all three ships into Boston Harbor. Having been told that the King could take his tea and shove it, the British Parliament in 1774 passed the Intolerable Act, which included, among other punitive measures, the closing the Port of Boston. Thus the fuse of colonial insurrection burned ever closer to the powder keg of the American Revolution.

Coming forward 236 years to the latest tea parties and we learn that an estimated 8,000 citizens gathered in Fullerton, California this past Saturday morning to protest the tax increases that are embedded in the state's up-coming annual budget. Families with children, seniors, grandparents, college students, bikers, citizens of all stripes raised their unified voices in defiance of the proposed taxes. Chanting "Repeal, recall, revolt," the disgruntled mass is seeking a means to remove from office the Sacramento politicians who voted for the increase tax burden. All across American tax revolt "tea parties" are breaking out. In places such as Green Bay, Wisconsin, Lafayette, Louisiana, Olathe, Kansas, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and in St. Louis and Kansas City, thousands of citizens have gathered in parks, at city halls, and along public thoroughfares to raise their voices and placards in protest to the worsening, darkening storm of social discontent for being saddled with the responsibility of oppressive taxation without a personal voice in the process. Said one protester, "If this ain't Hell, you can sure see it from here!"

Our Federal government, as well as many of our state legislative bodies, is totally out of touch with the American people. The Democrats in Congress have convinced themselves that your money is their money and they can damn well spend it anyway they chose. The spineless Republicans raised nothing less stringent than a sound bite ruckus as they meekly protested the over 8,000 earmarks contained within the bill, but then turned around and voted for its approval saying, in effect, "It's the Democrats fault that there is pork in the bill, but if they have earmarks, we want ours too." Acting President Obama today signed into law the omnibus spending bill calling it "imperfect." That's like labeling a woman with child as being "mildly pregnant!" It was Obama who promised that he would not sign any appropriations bill that contained any earmarks. What are we Americans to think other than his promise was merely empty campaign rhetoric and that his promises may only from this day forward be considered "imperfect" at best? To be politically correct and not be labeled a raciest, are we to just look the other way?

It is a far gone conclusion that the Democrats are latter day carpetbaggers, bent on taking from those who have and in turn line their own pockets and those of their lapdog constituents with the largess from the labors of the hard working American people. They are thieves in thousand dollar suits who care no more for the plights of the average American than does a ravenous dog give consideration to a soupbone. But it is the Republicans who deserve the lion's share of ridicule. Republican...thy name is hypocrite! Now, today was the opportune time to stand up to the Democrats and say "No! We will not tolerate such wasteful spending. We will pull all of our earmarks from the bill!" Did they do that? No! The acquiesced in the guise of "If its good for the goose, it is good for us too!" Shame. There are no principles lurking within the folds of those hollow suits that walk the Halls of Congress. Just politicians. God save our country.

Our nation is literally drowning in a sea of unsecured debt, governed by an elitist collaboration of self-serving ideologues who are systemically throwing away the life preservers of capitalism for the leaky rafts of socialism. The tea parties are breaking out all of the country in protest...and there are more to come. There is a day looming on the horizon when the American people who make this country work will slap away the overreaching hands of the money grubbing politicians from their back pockets and say, "Enough! We are mad as hell and we aren't going to take it any more!" They won't come as citizens dressed as Indians, but as a united people who will attempt first to oust the present entrenched liberal new world order crowd with the power of their individual vote. Failing that peaceful approach, they shall come armed not with placards and banners, but with an enforceable determination to put our house back in order. That day can't come soon enough to suit me.

"No arsenal, or not weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." - Ronald Regan

"Is It Nap Time Yet?

Usually I have the date marked in RED when Daylight Savings Time is scheduled to begin. It's arrival caught me off guard this year. I forgot that the duration of DST has been expanded and it's date of commencement was again to be in early March rather than April. Suits me. The time switch is the most positive reinforcement that my long awaited advent of spring has finally arrived. However, having that extra hour of daylight in the evening plays havoc on my body clock for about two weeks before it finally adjusts to when it decides to finally call it a day and I can fall asleep on a consistent basis.

I still haven't quite got the knack of how to set the clocks in our home, of which there are many, ahead one hour. It is best to adjust the time pieces when one is fully in charge one's total mental faculties, which for me is a monumental task even under the best of circumstances. Saturday night I began to reset the clocks in the kitchen and in our bedroom only to have Judi come behind me and announce that I moved them back an hour rather than forward. That error would have made us embarrassingly late for church Sunday morning had she not noted my mistake. I am even more convinced that there are three types of people in the world: those who can do math and those who can't!

Sunday night wasn't a problem for us to fall asleep, albeit an hour earlier according to our body clocks. We had spent that afternoon enjoying the last day of the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, traipsing the two hundred mile long midway several times and sampling the countless offerings of food concoctions that may only be found at a county fair. Did you know that you can actually pay good money to consume deep fried deliquesces such as pickles, Coca-cola, candy bars, Oreo cookies or the newest fast track avenue to cardiac arrest, chocolate covered bacon? You can...I wouldn't dare! We did enjoy an ample serving of cinnamon covered funnel cake and the festival's renowned center piece of "must have" comfort food, a heaping bowl of strawberry shortcake smothered in a mountain of whipped cream. Arriving home that evening we had no difficulty in calling it a day, and just as soon as the antacid medication took affect, we fell fast asleep.

But last night was an altogether different proposition. I couldn't fall asleep on a bet. The clock said two-thirty a.m., but my body said "What are you doing in bed? The night is still young!" Some time around four this morning I finally drifted off, only to awaken a couple of hours later to a new day. Knowing my history at this time of the year, this pattern will repeat itself for another week to 10 days before I finally adjust to turning in an hour earlier than usual. I thoroughly enjoy the benefits of longer spring and summer days, but I do wish that when everyone else "springs forward" that I could get my body clock to come along for the ride.

Friday, March 6

"An Open Letter To The Citizens Of St. Petersburg..."

This post is directed at a particular demographic: those folks who reside in my home town, St. Petersburg, Florida. This is the year that the citizens of St. Petersburg elect a new mayor for a four year term. It is my hope that the following letter of endorsement for my candidate of choice, Mr. Bill Foster, will serve to persuade a number of my bolg followers and fellow city residents to not only vote for Bill on election day, but be willing, as am I, to lend their time, talents and monetary contributions to assist in Bill obtaining the final election victory.

"The field of candidates who aspire to become the next mayor of St. Petersburg is encouragingly crowded with a slate of well qualified individuals, each of whom envisions applying their unique brand of leadership for the next four year term on the ever evolving fortunes of our city. There exist an incessant plea from the electorate that the overall campaign will be absent of partisan politics and a hoped for expectation that the individual candidates will diligently shun the temptation to utilize personal attacks against their fellow candidates in order to deliberately demean and damage their opponent's community achievement accomplishments and personal reputations. In this disheartening era of "dirty politics," such vitriolic strategies serve only to debase the character of the individual who utilizes such tactics while placing in the shadows the issues for which genuine and honest debate would productively illuminate. Our mayoral candidates would do well to remember that the employment of such antics serves only to bring into question the character flaws of the offender as possibly being void of the attributes and abilities of desired leadership that would warrant otherwise a positive vote cast in their behalf.

I support a candidate who will without hesitation disdain any thought of conducting a negative campaign, but will put forth for voter evaluation his consistent and unwavering strength of irreproachable character and spirit of servanthood faithfully demonstrated throughout his decade long history of documented achievements accomplished through his unselfish dedication to public service to this city and citizens of St. Petersburg. Bill Foster is a person of high moral and ethical fiber, who loves St. Petersburg and who admires and desire to further serve, as their mayor, the thousands of men and women who, like him, work tirelessly every day to maintain, promote and enhance further the quality of life for which this city has established such a well deserved reputation.

There have been in the past and will unfortunately continue in the present those individuals that would discount Bill Foster's worthiness to serve as mayor, believing that his professed and closely held Christian faith somehow interferes decidedly with his ability to separate matters of city affairs from the personal affairs of the heart. To those likeminded skeptics I would point out that a person of religious faith possesses no less of an inherent ability to govern fairly and without prejudice than does the individual who hold no religious precept other than his own sense of ego. I would much prefer a government official who stands on a firm personal and uplifting faith so that he or she does not fall prey to a self-prescribed belief that the weight of making fair and impartial decisions that effects the greater good lies solely with their frail human ability to render same. Give me a candidate that ponders first in heartfelt prayer the decisions which affects the fortunes of family, friends, and community over any individual that believes that personal ethics are singularly the product of mankind's DNA.

In these most trying and strenuous times of economic turmoil, the citizens of St. Petersburg need a mayor who will not succumb to the Washington and Tallahassee decrees of doom and gloom, where partisan philosophy too often trumps fiscal practicality, who will look instead to the grassroots of self-determination that is prevalent among the citizens of this community, and who will forge a renewed spirit of seeking a better future and a common sense approach of taking care of our own. These present difficult times, if left to fester without solid leadership to evaluate and proactively address, will only serve to defeat us. Our city's and citizens' difficult times can instead serve to define us a municipality that rose to meet the challenges head on. Bill Foster, as our city's next mayor, is the candidate that possesses, in partnership with the citizens of St. Petersburg, the desire, the experience, and the requisite leadership skills and abilities to meet those challenges."

To learn more about Bill Foster, the individual, the family man, his community service achievements and record, his "Foster Formula" plan for governing St. Petersburg in the next four years, and how you can become personally involved in Bill's campaign, please visit the campaign Web site at: http://www.BillFosterformayor.com/ I hope you, like me, will embrace Bill's candidacy and make it is personal priority to become involved in the future of St. Petersburg by becoming personally involved in Bill Foster's campaign.