Friday, December 31, 2010

College Football bowl games and me

This weekend is ready made for guys. College football bowl games abound from morning to night. For many of us guys the ball dropping at midnight is only a signal of more football games to come. I watched a game between South Carolina and Tennessee last night that had so many twists and turns it was difficult to keep up. The turning point was when a booth review determined that there was still one second left and South Carolina went on to win in overtime a game that Tennessee believed they had won. What a cliffhanger!

However, where the real entertainment is, and a lot of guys will secretly admit to this, is the sometimes verging on the ridiculous conglomeration of names for these games. I won't pick on the real names, they speak for them selves. But I think I might add a suggestion or two to list. Maybe you can come up with one or two yourself, we can make a game of it to bring in the new year. Perhaps as midnight draws nigh the more alcohol involved the more interesting the names will become.

"The Brett Favre 5th annual retirement announcement Memorial East Coast Blizzard maybe Sunday maybe Tuesday Bowl."

"The Far Right, Far Left, Tea Party, ACLU, Narcissistic, What's in it for me Political Bowl."

"The Ultimate Battle of Pitiful Losers Toilet Bowl."

I think you get the idea. Lets have some fun with it. The games are usually pretty good and well worth watching but the names sometimes take up two or three lines on the TV screen. Meanwhile, I wish you a happy, prosperous and safe New Year. I hope your team wins..................Joe

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 predictions

There are a couple things I think will happen in 2011. Over the past 5 years much of what I thought came to be true. The economic downturn, high unemployment, the manufacturing losses, incredibly high numbers of illegal aliens, the bursting housing bubble, gold and silver prices rising, Ethanol demand being a bust, continually lowering of student competency and a myriad of other events. I'm not an expert but I have a high percentage of being on top of things and being able to plan for them. I can't stop what's going to happen but knowing in advance has given me a slight advantage in survival. Here are a couple ideas I have for the upcoming year.

Reality TV shows will abound. Next up? "Can you belch louder than a 6th grader?"

Someone will unearth the toenails of the oldest human being, linking us to being descendants of prehistoric wombats.

City buses that run on pig droppings will be sanctioned by the government. The main contributing factor is the development of a new deodorizing exhaust system.

Another reality TV show will focus on ways to sneak into the United States and where to obtain false documentation.

Federal and state employees as well as politicians will be required to receive the same benefits and live by the same affordable standards as the tax payers.

Someone on Utube will uncover proof positive that John Bon Jovi really has false teeth.

New educational standards will require high school graduates to read and write as well as play basketball.

Social security will be safely funded by the profits from the sale of Asian carp.

Telephone solicitors will be required to talk truthfully.

Unemployment will continue at one percentage or another.

News agencies will be mandated to report good news and happy events right along with all the tragedies. Reporters will have to stop bobbing their heads at us.

A new law will require politicians to actually do what they said they'd do during their campaign.

By the end of 2011 either these or other things will all come true. And that's the truth..........Joe

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Coupons, they can be misleading.

Beware, sometimes coupons don't save you a dime. In fact, sometimes coupons advertised as a savings are priced at the same or even a little more than if you paid retail. Do your research before paying too much of your hard earned money for a "discount" coupon.

I am a coupon shopper. I cut them out of the local newspaper, magazines or wherever else I can find them. Bulletin boards, store receipts and mailbox promotions are chock full of money saving coupons too. They are an excellent way of stretching my wages and living the good life. I do not however, pay money for any discount coupons. I have found many of these coupons to be unreliable and misleading. I am not saying that there are not any real deals out there, I am only saying that I have not found any and am passing on my opinion to you.

Recently a good friend informed me of a website that sells discount coupons and, knowing I am a coupon clipper felt I may save a bundle of cash. Several of the coupons offered appeared at first to be a considerable savings on a couple of purchases I was considering, that is until I did my research. One service in particular caught my eye. I was considering it as a gift to a friend. The advertisement said that I could purchase the coupon for $79 and it inferred that I would be receiving $208 in services. Wow! That is a savings of $129. however, the ad was totally misleading and the services described could actually often be purchased at the business itself for $69 or less, either there or at comparative businesses. I was very disappointed both for myself and for those people who had already purchased the coupons.

Every time we use a coupon and actually save money we are increasing our purchasing power. The problem I se with these misleading coupons is that, because we feel we are saving so much money we may be purchasing something we ordinarily buy. And, if we are paying the same or more we are just wasting our money. That's not my idea of a good buy. I suggest you do your research before buying a coupon. Don't waste your money. It's too hard to earn these days.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Detroit Lions win 3 in a row

Why is everyone acting so surprised that the Detroit Lions won yesterday? I am so pleased I am almost giddy but I am definitely not surprised. I have expected this all along, winning was only a matter of time. Sure, the Lions haven't been a winning team for a long time but there have also been legitimate reasons for that. Not excuses mind you but reasons.

It's been a long time since the Lions had a couch with the wherewithal to learn how to win with the team he has. For years the Lions have been riddled with injuries. Game after game our star players have gone down and the substitute second and third string have had to fill in. From quarterbacks to linemen they've been mowed down on a regular basis leaving us a rag tag, motley crew. Our head coach found out how to put them all together and win. I expected him to do that.

Everyone in the league has seen the terrible penalty calls against the Lions. even the officials have stated the calls were bad after the games. Those bad calls go back at least 15 years in my memory. Many of them were game deciding such as the one recently called against Calvin Johnson for "Not finishing the process" It was pretty lame. And another one against Ndomikan Suh for pulling a guy down by his hair. The league rules state that if a player decides to grow his hair long he must realize that his hair becomes part of the uniform and can be used to take him down. All teams experience bad calls against them but I feel the figures show that they have been unfairly called against the Lions far more than any other major league team. I expected it would stop eventually.

For a long, long time it seemed that there was at least one player on the Lions team that created strife amongst the members of his team by whining and complaining like a spoiled child. This team and the head coach haven't participated in or allowed that type of whining behavior to be acceptable. They have rid themselves of the whiners, stuck together and learned how to win instead of blaming others for losing. I expected that this year.

So, as you can see I am not surprised. But I also have a prediction to make concerning something else I expect. The Detroit Lions aren't done yet. I watched their third string quarterback put together a group of injured and back up players to win two games in a row. I watched a second string quarterback, with a broken finger win a game with an injured running back and one of our star receivers on the sidelines with an injury and other players that haven't been with the team for half the season. I saw our excited head coach participating with and encouraging his players like no other coach in recent memory and I saw how they responded to him. They have learned to step up when necessary and win together as a team. I expect that the Detroit Lions will be formidable in the not too distant future. I can think of three NFL teams in the past three weeks that think so already.

The Detroit Lions won't be in the Super Bowl this year. However, I expect there will be many people like myself that will remember this as a great year for the Lions and their fans. Yeah, today is a good day for all of us..............Joe

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas is Here!

Christmas is here, Christmas is here
filled with fun, family, food
and sometimes, way too much beer

Everywhere we go we hear the sound of bells
see gifts colorfully wrapped in boxes with tape
and turn our faces towards the sweet sugary smells

Skis and sleds in the car awaiting the snows
jackets and gloves and scarves and goulashes
at the ready to stave off cold when as the wind blows

Colorful bright lights appear everywhere
their twinkling piercing through the darkness
with our heads straining to see our share

While under an overpass or in a storefront corner
can be found many a cold, lonely soul
huddling, shivering, living in total disorder

A soldier rides on a road in a foreign land
keeping watch for safety's sake
clutching a picture of loved ones in their hand

A man walks the icy streets going from store to store
looking for work no matter the type
hoping to earn money to keep his family home one week more

A baby was born who would save us all
not just a few, remember we should
for each and everyone it is best to recall

On Christmas day we are reminded to know
the reason for it all is this:
we reap what we sow

Christmas it's said is the greatest holiday
when we face our maker and He asks what we did
about the plight of our neighbor, what will we say

It's time to be happy and giddy and sing
we can look about us and see what He meant
of the gifts of joy, love and peace we can bring

Then, we can say: Christmas is here!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Huh! Say that again?

I heard the heart of an average person beats 4000 times an hour. I tried to count mine and fell asleep.

I heard that in the average year Americans use enough toilet paper to stretch to the sun and back. I tried to find out who did all the research, they won't tell me. Has he visited your bathroom yet?

I heard that snails can breath through their feet. I heard it from the same woman that said that turtles can breath through their butt. I picked up a snail and looked, I couldn't find any feet. You can do the checking on the turtle, OK?

I heard that in some Kenyan cultures if a man offers a woman some beer and she spits it back into his mouth, they are then engaged. I think I'll just keep wondering about that.

I heard that an astronaut can still burp while he's in outer space but he can't pass gas. I haven't figured out whether I am interested enough in that bit of trivia to find out for sure.

I heard that when all the counting was finally over, George W. Bush beat out Al Gore for the presidency by 537 votes. Now that's something to think about when you hear someone using flimsy excuses about their vote not being important isn't it?

Every year I find at least a dozen or more Praying Mantises climbing fences, trees and walls in my yard. For many years I've had several hummingbird feeders in my yard but to no avail, not one hummingbird has taken my food offerings. Duh! I just found out Praying Mantises eat hummingbirds.

I heard that the singer, Madonna is afraid of being thought of as stupid. Now why would anyone think that she is stupid? Maybe she knows more than we know.

I heard that the United States was being deforested at a rapid rate, thereby reducing our oxygen and bringing on global warming. Then I heard that every year there are over 1.6 billion trees are planted in the United States, every year! Now who am I supposed to believe. Both reports came from the government. Go figure!

I heard that if I wonder about too much stuff that is out of my control I may be paranoid. Now I'm beginning to wonder about that too. I wish you a worry free day.....................Joe

Monday, December 13, 2010


Sometimes my ignorance comes right up and slaps me in the face. This time it concerned email stuff. I attempt to write as I think, in other words I seldom use abbreviations or symbols. In my opinion it muddles the true intent of the communication. At least when I read someone else's email to me and it's chock full of single letter, abbreviated words or initials it brings me pause until I decipher it. Occasionally I miss it completely.

Ever since I entered the world of electronic messaging I have been confident in the meaning of three simple letters, LOL. It seemed that everyone used them and not wanting to appear as if I came from the dark ages I used them frequently. Sprinkling them here and there like a fine seasoning. Once in a while I'd get a reply to an email asking me to explain exactly what I meant. Then I would skip the initials and use complete words and everything would turn out just fine. But until yesterday no one explained to me just how ridiculous some of my emails must have looked.

Today I am a new man. Today I know that LOL does not mean "Lots of Love." Some of the things I wrote must have been LOL to a lot of people over the years but to those to whom I was writing about serious matters I apologize from the bottom of my heart. Today is a huge "DUH!" day for me. LOL to many of you.............................Joe

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yesterday and today, keeping up.

My, how times have changed things. Cell phones, computers, electronic games, electric cars and wind turbines are so common they don't elicit a second thought from most people. Record players, crystal radios, slide rules, mimeographs, carburetors and tinker toys are almost ancient history. New countries pop up overnight causing maps become irrelevant even as they are printed. Language too evolves at nearly light speed and words and their meanings change sometimes overnight. It's kind of difficult to keep up with all the changes. Particularly, for me anyway are the social and cultural differences so far removed from what I learned in school. Here are a couple examples from my high school classroom days.

In social studies the teacher described how the communists had the citizens bring their kids to a "government" provided day care. "That just goes to show you how much the communist government controls their people and take their freedoms away." She said.

All through junior and high school the hot topics of conversation most often surrounded sports, college prep, getting a part time job, practical jokes and cars. Girls were mixed in like seasoning.

In high school, getting into trouble usually involved being late, chewing gum in class, smoking in the bathroom, passing notes in class, running in the halls or squealing tires in the parking lot.

Most guys showed respect to the girls and did things like open doors for them, pay the check at restaurants, not swear around them and would almost die before passing gas in front of them. Girls flirted and giggled and mostly left it at that when they were with boys.

When fights broke out between the guys, as it sometimes did, it usually ended with a bloody lip, a bruised ego and if a teacher found out, detention. A couple of regular trouble makers were sent to "Juvy." (juvenile home)

About three or four times a year the entire high school had an "assembly" and a recent graduate would talk about his or her success due to their education. At least one was enlisted in the armed forces giving us local heroes to think about.

Being "nice" was considered a good thing, something to strive for in spite of raging hormones and unlimited innocent, youthful ignorance and stupidity. Even if we failed at it we admired it.

History will determine if today is better for us or yesterday was more beneficial. I just know that it's a interesting ride either way. There are advantages on both sides and it's good for some of us to step back and take a look at the differences from time to time. How far have we come?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Westboro Baptist Fred Phelps

Hey Fred! I humbly suggest you re-read that bible of yours. Rumor has it that you or some of your followers are about to bring a protest to the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards. According to the bible I read you are dead wrong in doing that. For decades you have made some pretty strong comments about certain lifestyles and the war in Iraq. Fine! You have the right to say that. Just not where you have in some instances, more specifically, at funerals. In doing that you are dead wrong. "You are speaking the word of God." you say? I ask, "Who said so?" God spoke to you? Did you get it on tape? He may possibly have spoken to you. It is totally possible. But I'd like to see the stone tablets he carved out with His commandments for you to protest in this way. That's all I ask. Show me the proof. I don't read anywhere in my bible or any other one that Fred Phelps is the spokesperson for God.

Our religious beliefs often carry us into the face of adversity. Faith brings with it a difficult road that we must travel. We have to be strong and steadfast maintain what we are asked to do. In your case I think you should step back and ask yourself just what your agenda is. It has been my experience that when someone brings so much pain to others during their most difficult times the point is not so much what God wants but what you want. Personal power over others is a driving force that has condemned many so called spiritual leaders and their followers. Going so far as to asking them all to commit suicide and other atrocities. Think about that Fred. Our soldiers families didn't deserve for you to be there, you just made things worse. Did you feel good about that?

It seems that somewhere in the bible it states that we should beware of false Prophets. Are you a false prophet Fred? Are you in this just for the glory of bringing pain to people you do not agree with? Do you really think this is what Jesus would do? Even John the Baptist, as radical as he was with his repent command, did not go to others. He only spoke to those who came to him. Preach what you want. But, keep it where you are. If someone has a funeral at your church you can berate and belittle them til your heart is content and their hearts are broken. If you have a truly good message they will come. Personally I doubt they will. Leave this funeral and all that follow alone. I think God will be plenty OK with that.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Clue #1 Silver Treasure Riddle

Clue #1 for the 30th annual Silver Treasure Hunt Riddle December 7th, 2010

"I think you'll agree it's not just better but also, more specifically in a great smaller area to inspect for what you seek. Great and OK for you, OK for me."

More can be seen in the Advance and Grand Rapids Press and also on Greg's web site

Remember the reason for this game, besides having fun and the chance to win a beautiful and valuable prize; "Carbon Monoxide, Get Outside!"

Enjoy and Good Luck!.........................Joe

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Jobs are on the top of a lot of peoples Christmas list right now. Perhaps I've reached the time of life when dispensing a little wisdom of the ages to those younger than me is allowable. If you are looking for a job maybe this will help in some way. I've walked the street of life over the years and came face to face with the possibility of long term unemployment and overcame it. I've paid my dues! We all approach this problem with our own set of circumstances and what works for one, may not work for the other but lets look at it from my perspective. This is how I attacked getting a job and continued to support my family.

When it came to a job I never let my pride get in the way: I've dug holes for outside toilets, sold Christmas trees, bagged groceries, peddled newspapers, washed cars, shoveled sidewalks, cut grass, picked apples, changed tires, poured cement, bailed hay, cleaned out barns and worked for less than minimum wage at several jobs at a time to earn enough to pay the bills.

I spent over 12 hours a day looking for work. Any time I wasn't sleeping or eating I was taking the bus, riding my bicycle or walking and knocking on doors asking for a job, any job. I felt that if I didn't have a job to support my family I couldn't afford to go hunting, fishing or sit down and watch sports on TV. Sunday was the exception but I even spent that looking over prospective opportunities and making plans to get there.

I always dressed well and clean, like I was looking for a job and appreciated and respected my prospective employer. I looked successful even without a job. I dressed to please the employer, not myself. My hair, when I had some, was clean and combed, I wore no jewelry except my wedding ring and a watch. Cell phones were not a problem then but if I was on an interview now I wouldn't have one in my pocket or turned on.

I used my best manners, the ones my folks taught me when I was being interviewed.

I always expressed my willingness to work any job, any hours, at any wage and accepted any job unconditionally. At least until I got a better one. It was always easier to get a good job when I was working and paying my bills no matter what my present job was.

During an interview I never complained about my previous jobs or bosses or disparaged any companies. I readily accepted responsibility for my own actions, bad or good.

No matter what type of job I had at the time I worked harder than anyone else. The only time I was taken aside by my bosses it was because I didn't take a break. I always asked for overtime.

I never let anything keep me from a job interview. I once walked over six miles in a driving snow storm for two and a half hours to get work. The employer didn't show up so I walked back home and returned the next day and got the part time job at a very low wage. there was lots of overtime and it paid the bills until I quit for a better job three weeks later. I found the better job through someone I met working there. There are hidden opportunities everywhere.

I wish you well in your job search. It's not an easy road, I know. Keep going, no matter what! We can all get discouraged from time to time but keep going anyway. Use your energy finding a job, not sitting and pouting about not having one and expecting someone else to step in and save you.

Those are some of the things I've learned. I hope they help. There are definitely jobs out there...................Joe

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just another day in Michigan.

I am the first to admit that I do not have a huge speech vocabulary. I do, however have a vast vocabulary of understanding. In my writing and every day speech I probably work around a high school level. I've found that is where I am most comfortable. That's perfectly OK with me. I'm not out to make my mark as a word smith, public speaker or great orator of any measure. I'm simply an every day, almost invisible type of guy. But there are times when I feel I'm doing better in some ways than those that are way more educated than I am. Namely, those folks on TV and radio that give us the news. For the most part they are excellent in keeping me up to date on current events and weather. I am grateful for that and will continue to use them as well as the newspaper. I do have to take issue with their more than occasional misuse of superlative descriptive terms. RE: "Shocking, surging, jumping, leaping, shattering, terrible, incredible," you know, stuff like that.

This morning I listened as the local meteorologist described how a snow fall of 5 inches, "Shattered" the old record. What was the old record? "4.75 inches" In my limited vocabulary 1/4 inch of snow doesn't shatter anything. The other day gas prices were described as "surging" and "leaping" up in price. Although gas prices are extremely volatile, this particular increase was 2 cents, or less than one percent. A financial wizard was reporting on the huge increase in the price of gold one day. Gold is presently at around $1375 an ounce, not an insignificant piece of change by any means. But she described the increase of $1.60 as an "incredible, almost shocking" rise in value. I think you may be getting my point.

All I'm saying is that when someone is coming into my living room with the news of the day, I ask that they please do not try to sensationalise the trivial. Save it for the truly amazing stuff. Otherwise I am reminded of the kid that cried wolf all the time and when the wolf did come nobody paid attention. Give me the news straight, give me the facts and I can see for myself what is worthy of a scary or surprising term.

"There roads are covered with snow and ice today and hundreds of people are slipping and sliding all over the place almost making travel impossible." Hey! This is Michigan, what do you expect as far as the weather in December? We'll handle it! Where's the skis?.................Joe

Friday, November 5, 2010

Treasure hunt search pointers

It's been an interesting past couple of days. Dozens of enthusiastic treasure hunters visited me early tuesday morning to get a jump start on the search for the treasure. The pile of flyers whittled down almost faster than I could keep up. Weather was great and everyone took off in their direction of choice. The medallion remains secure in it's hiding place today though.

Because of the Internet I don't receive the volume of mail requests as in the past. I sort of miss that but on the other hand I have less time to deal with them also so it's a trade off. The newspapers are covering it well too pointing out the purpose of the game: a fun and challenging way to be reminded of the danger of carbon monoxide. (If there is anything I've learned through my research concerning CO poisoning, it is that most of us don't want to hear or talk about it. Especially perhaps the media folks I run across from time to time. Unless, of course it results in a tragedy of some sort. And that is precisely what I wish to prevent with my annual reminders.)

A couple pointers here to help with your search. Pay close attention to the list of rules listed in the papers and on line at Greg's site They will clarify literally every question you may have regarding the medallions location. It is not on private property, you do not have to dismantle anything to retrieve it are two important things to remember.

Good luck, carry on, toodle ooo and all that............................Joe

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Riddle game starts now!

The free game starts now!

Here is the 30th annual Silver Treasure Hunt riddle for you to solve and find the elusive metal medallion.

"There I was, riding along on my bicycle when I saw it. I could not think of a better place. It looked ok and I was sure I would not worry over it any more. Bring me the medallion and win."

For more information and a set of the rules you will find them listed along with additional background on a site hosted by Greg Havens I found a couple typo's in the riddle but I'm sure he'll clear them up soon. Meanwhile the riddle listed here is correct and The Grand Rapids Press and Advance newspapers will have articles relating to the treasure hunt. Good luck! A description of the treasure is in a previous posting. It's beautiful and valuable.

Stay safe. Watch out for carbon monoxide. remember: "Carbon Monoxide, Get Outside!"

Have fun..............Joe Cramer

P.S. Anonymous winners will not be acknowledged!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Annual Silver Treasure Hunt about to start

The die has been cast, last minute arrangements all made, the treasure secured, the medallion put in place with no detail left to chance. The Free, 30th Annual Silver Treasure Riddle Game is a go! Items in the treasure for the winner include: Silver Coffee Service, Silver Candlesticks, A really cool picnic basket and setting, Coins, Silver Serving Tray, the ever popular Silver Candle Snuffer and, of course the coveted engraved winners trophy mug. Find the metal medallion, bring it to me and retrieve your prize. All you need to play is a map and street guide of the Greater Grand Rapids Michigan area, a set of rules and the riddle to play. You must physically retrieve the medallion to win but that doesn't detract from the fun of competing in a match of wits with people from around the world. Over 40,000 at last count. A fellow named Greg has a web site you can go to for information, background and updates. He actually does a pretty good job with it.

This game comes to you free each year as a service to help you remember how dangerous Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is. Don't be caught by surprise. "Carbon Monoxide, Get Outside!"

Copies of the riddle will be available on Tuesday, November 2nd 2010. Let the game begin! See you then...............Joe Cramer

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free game rule clarification

30th annual Silver Treasure Riddle begins November 2nd. It's free!
The mail is increasing and beginning to overflow my mailbox concerning the upcoming Silver Treasure Riddle game. Most items are a request for the riddle when it comes out and a self addressed stamped envelope which have been the norm over the years to make sure they don't miss out on opening day. Some are requests for copies of past riddles. I'm sorry but time restraints do not allow me to provide them. However, the internet has loads of information including past riddles and their solutions when you put Wyomig Riddler in the subject box. One spot is Of course, there are always the familiar hopes for some sort of extra hint concerning the riddle. Including a suggestion that if I divulged the location she would split the treasure with me. Really? Why would I do that? I already have the treasure, if I wanted part of it, I'd keep it. I bought and paid cold hard cash for it just so someone could win. No hints! No extra clues! No unfair advantage for anyone! Period! That's in the rules. I will answer no question that results in advantage to anyone.

To be more specific: I can state a clue or the riddle as it is written. I cannot reword it or create another context for clarification. The idea of the treasure hunt in the first place (besides reminding us all of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning) is to celebrate the wondrous cognitive and imaginative skills of our own special human brain. The winner needs no shortcuts. If a person thought it up; a person can figure it out.

To be continued...................Joe

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Working on the treasure hunt

Yeah, I'm still around and kicking. I've been putting all of my time into the next treasure hunt starting on November 2nd 2010. I figure after 30 years I better be putting on my best effort to make it interesting for all who participate. The pressure is on and leaves precious little time for anything else. To my advantage the weather is cooperating and riding my bicycle has been downright pleasurable. The prize is stellar and quite memorable in my opinion, at least within my budgetary linitations. Of course most treasure hunters are only after the coveted, engraved, trophy mug and the sheer joy associated with using one's brain to it's full capacity.

Free time will be arriving soon and there will be regular postings as in the past. Please bear with me for a short while longer. The treasure awaits the winner..................Joe

Meanwhile you can click on Greg's website to find any breaking news concerning the free game: He does a good job on it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Worldwide automobile recall

Look for an upcoming recall of every motorized vehicle ever driven on the American highways. It's coming soon. It appears that every car, truck, van, semi, or motor home is defective. here are some of the findings:

Vehicles consistently fail to stop and hit other vehicles, signs, buildings or other obstacles.
They accelerate beyond the legal speed limit without cause in radar zones.
They wander aimlessly all over the road. (This malady is most apparent on Friday and Saturday nights.)
They wear out over time and cost money to fix immediately following the end of the warranty period.
Just before accidents the steering inexplicably becomes defective.
They fail to fit into parking spots on busy streets without extreme effort.
They run out of gas at unexpected times.
No matter the type, style or color of vehicle, most lose value at an uncontrollably fast rate.

It's pretty obvious from this intense research that motorized vehicles are all defective and should be recalled and replaced at no charge to the owner. I, of course remain neutral on the subject as I am not particularly knowledgeable on the intricacies involved here. My resources are limited to news reports and my own vehicles that provide me with personal transportation. All these recalls befuddle me but I can see that through diligence and research by wise people we learn about such stuff. Incredible!.....................Joe

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lesson learned from a kid

The annual Silver Treasure Riddle game becomes 30 this year on November 2nd 2010. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the beginning. Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in some way. I've seen three generations of treasure seekers walk through my door. All of these people have had an opportunity to have a lot of free fun and learn a little more about carbon monoxide poisoning. It's been a lot of fun for me too. I also learned a couple of life lessons along the way. Some of them rather humbling.

I ride a bicycle, a lot. I can be seen all times of the daylight hours riding around somewhere in the Greater Grand Rapids Michigan area. Mostly I am simply another anonymous biker amongst hundreds, once in a while someone recognizes me and says hi. Around here I am also known as the Wyoming Riddler, a name placed on me back in the early 1980's by one of the newspaper reporters that have covered this game over the years. At first I kind of shied away from it. It sounded a little corny, but after a year or two I began to savor the notoriety. Yeah, I'm the Riddler. Felt sort of good. Then it began to go to my head a little too much. I began to feel important instead of being just one of the crowd. Then I learned a lesson from a small child that brought me back to reality.

I was riding along a busy 4 lane street and came to a stop at a red light. A car with heavily tinted windows stopped alongside and the rear window was rolled down about 4 inches. Little fingers folded around the top edge and a set of eyes looks intently at me. The front window rolled down and the woman in the seat asked me if I could pull over and sign an autograph, her daughter had recognized me and I was a favorite TV star of hers. I nodded yes and pointed to a parking lot across the intersection, we met there after the light changed. The woman handed me a small note pad and with my chest stuck out and head held high I wrote, "Have a wonderful day, The Wyoming Riddler" and proudly handed it back to the woman. She read the autograph with a puzzled look on her face. After a moment of apparent confusion she asked, "Why did you write Wyoming Riddler" we thought you were the cook on TV called Mr. Food? It took me a moment to recover and admit that I wasn't and rode off in complete embarrassment. My head deflated as I continued my ride home. Lesson learned!

So here I am, working on the final details of the 30th annual treasure hunt. A little humble in my memories at being able to meet so many wonderful people over the years. Thankfully I've learned that it has little to do with me but more to do with a free game and the coverage of the local and national news media. It's a lot easier to buy hats for a smaller head too............Joe

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blogging subjects

Some people can blog every day and always have an interesting subject to blog about. Just like some people always know what to tweet or write on face book. I envy them, they are my cellphone, Internet, notepad and blackberry heroes. In scanning over different sites I find that, when it comes to blogging, the limit has not been reached yet on subject matter. There are blogs covering flowers, food, books, movies, cars, bicycles, blood pressure medicine, post WWII military poetry, horses, cats, gerbils, gardening, jokes, batteries, electric lighting, furniture, psychology, diamonds, pianos, all kinds of art, writing, any college or university you can find, aging, staying young, running, passing gas, hiking, shoes, ink pens, and feet just to name a few. Makes me feel a little inadequate. I find some of these and other subjects would be difficult, if not impossible for me to bring into any conversation, let alone blog about on a daily basis because I know nothing about them I can't even ask an intelligent question.

I did find a favorite though, magnets. What do you know about magnets? Do you find them attractive? They do have their positive as well as negative sides to them don't they? A lot of people don't like to discuss magnets though. Yeah, they can be very polarizing can't they? The favorite movie of magnet lovers was the Golden Compass so controversy is not unknown to them as you can see. If a person is opposed to the benefits of magnets it seems that they are still drawn to them anyway, attracted by forces unseen. Kind of spooky.

I, on the other hand, find myself bereft of a subject to write about today. I guess I'll have to spend a little more time checking out the subjects available until I settle on something interesting...........Joe

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A positive outlook by turning off TV

Just like most people, occasionally my outlook changes from positive to negative. Sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's a sore foot or other physical malady, sometimes it's a disagreement with someone, a close friends misfortune, you know what I mean. I'm not talking about depression or anything like that, just a little turn of the lips from a steady smile to a slight downturn instead. It usually doesn't last long at all, for the most part I have a very positive attitude and have a happy life irregardless of problems, I can usually handle anything that comes along. One evening recently, as I was slowly winding down from the days activities, sitting in the old easy chair, finishing up my reading with the TV news on in the background, I felt just a twinge of negativity and I couldn't detect any real reason for it. No arguments, no other than normal business situations, no financial problems, just another day in river city as far as I could tell. Then why the negativity all of a sudden? I put down the paper and sat for a moment to think about it, I didn't like it. At the end of the day I usually feel so good it's hard to settle down and get to sleep, but not for negative reasons, it is because I enjoyed the day so much I hate to see it end, I continue to savor it. Then, as I slowly became more aware of my surroundings it dawned on me, I'd broken a major rule of mine: I had a TV news program on.

A long time ago, in a magazine article of suggestions on how to fall asleep easier, front and center and of major importance was the statement that if you want a good night's sleep stay away from TV news programs for at least 4 hours before going to bed because they were so negative in their reporting. I'd abided by that rule ever since to the best of my ability. Here I sat, subconsciously being pelted with all these negative comments from some (rather pretty I must say) woman reporter, gently bobbing her head and creating facial expressions of sorrow, fear, dread of impending disaster and overwhelming hopelessness. I could feel it, the pull of my greatest fears being brought right into my living room by a group of people with trusting faces. I was being bombarded by all the negative aspects of every story while the positive elements were skipped over or completely overlooked. The world was on the edge of the Apocalypse!

Off went the TV! It took a short time to return to the real world. Problems and difficulties do come up from time to time, they have since the beginning of time. Mankind has survived it all albeit sometimes by the grace of God. We grow smarter and stronger with each generation. people die and people are born, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. That's life. get over it and move on. That's the positive view. The negative view is that, except for the expensive and comforting trappings of the news room, the rest of the world is best avoided by staying home and watching the news instead of going out and living life to it's fullest. They even provide with the head shaking and facial expressions exactly how we should "feel" about the news. We don't even need to find our own emotions, they are all part of the show, just like a movie. Just like the article said, I don't need that.

I slept well last night. No TV news. It's not all bad but why take a chance. I'll just grab my trusty old newspaper, it doesn't shake or nod unless I'm doing the shaking or nodding. I'm positive about that.............................Joe

Friday, September 24, 2010

Katy Perry and Sesame Street

It's all over the web, Katy Perry's duet with Elmo gets dropped from program. Viewed as inappropriate by thousands of concerned parents around the country the producers took the right step and decided not to air it. Now the video is on YouTube, most believe that is where it belongs. Censorship? Not hardly. Simply doing what's right after making a not so good decision in the first place.

I read over hundreds of comments on a site dealing with just that issue. Most agreed that Sesame Street is supposed to be a bastion of safe programming for kids and this skit didn't fit that mold. Some bullies pulled the freedom card and said that any show should be able to present anything and it is the responsibility of the parents to guard the child from what they deem inappropriate. So much for the "It takes a community" theory in Hillary Clinton's book.

My take on it is that some places should be expected to air child friendly, non-controversial material. Leave them alone. They did the right thing. There is only one Sesame Street and it's for kids. There are hundreds, thousands of sit-Com's that show adult material every moment of the day. I suggest that those who enjoy Good old Katy Perry: Turn the channel, tell your kids that you just don't agree with the excellent programming on Sesame Street, you prefer the "anything goes, every parent for them self" programming.

Now, lets get on with the day. ArtPrize is here in Grand Rapids, the garden is filled to overflowing with ripe vegatables and the weekend is filled with sunshine. who could ask for anything more? Baseball and football are on the radio so I'll probably never turn on the TV all weekend long.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free game. Brain food

Phew! The past couple of weeks I've been trying to tie up some loose ends concerning the 30th annual Silver Treasure Hunt. Riding my bicycle in search of the hiding spot for the elusive medallion has produced quite a few challenges this year due to considerable road construction. Mud, gravel, deep trenches, road blocks and closed except to local traffic obstructions are everywhere. But there is no need for concern. The long anticipated Riddle describing an obscure locality will be disclosed on the first Tuesday of November as usual. Once again thousands of treasure seekers will converge on the Greater Grand Rapids Michigan area to claim the prize of silver, the coveted inscribed winners mug and other mystery gifts.

The intent of this annual treasure hunt is to use your cognitive problem solving skills, enjoy the beauty of the area, have fun and also learn a thing or two about the danger of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. At last count there were over 40,000 participants in this free game. There is one prize for the first person to retrieve the metal medallion but in my opinion anyone that uses their mind in pursuit of it is a winner. Due to CO poisoning I lost my memory for two years and believe me, it's not easy living without a memory or the ability to think in a normal fashion that we all take for granted.

I hope you join in the fun beginning November 2nd 2010. I'll see you then. For more information go to Greg's game info sight at ............................Joe

Monday, September 20, 2010

High school classes

Having been far removed from high school for a few years now I'm not quite sure what courses they offer anymore. Math, as I knew it may very well be outdated with the availability of electronic brains everyone carries around lately. I learned plus, minus, times, and division in grade school. Then, in high school it was algebra, geometry and trigonometry. Calculus was hinted at but I never took it up. English, American and world history, literature, health class including proper manners, social studies, government and science pretty much covered the rest of my studies. There is one class I failed to sign up for on time that I believe would have been extremely beneficial throughout my life, Speech class. From what I understand it involved public speaking, speech preparation and getting up in front of the class and putting words together in an understandable fashion without being embarrassed out of your wits. Debate class was part of it I think too.

I have always been intelligent and ready to learn but my problem came in that I all too often refused to learn what I wasn't interested in. Speech class wasn't on my list of priorities at the time. Especially in light of my being shy almost to the point of the ridiculous at the time. In retrospect, speech class was probably the perfect antidote for that problem of mine. I still have an inert fear of public speaking and what many would refer to as "microphone fright." Following the theory that fear itself is our greatest enemy I have faced the situation for better or worse by speaking in public on dozens of occasions. Just in case, I always make sure I have a someone nearby to take over in the event of brain failure. Yes, there have been a few times when my mind simply went blank and they had to maintain the momentum until I returned to the land of reality.

Another gremlin I faced through my lifetime is confrontation. Being a guy I am faced with the legacy of: Fight or flight. I'm not talking about physical violence here but rather the male tendency to bring normal disagreements to a higher decibel discussion to prove a point. I think I'd prefer to have learned debate in a more structured environment in my high school years. It probably would have prevented a lot of hurt feelings and broken relationships.

Times have changed and the education community has experimented with myriads of different theories. Not all of which have been successful, perhaps not even the majority. If I was in high school right now I'm afraid I'd be extremely confused as to what exactly was meant by a proper education. At least back then I knew what I was missing out on. Probably another class of great benefit I skipped because I thought it was for girls would have been typing. I'm typing this posting with two fingers. Not so speedy either. Live and learn I guess..........................Joe

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Conservatives and Liberals

Controversy abounds between conservatives and liberals. Both groups consist of mostly good people but both also involve a few radicals. Both groups want what they feel is the right thing for all of us, a better life. Where they differ is just exactly what is involved in obtaining a better life. Here in the United States freedom is of primary concern to both groups. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to own property, freedom to pursue happiness, freedom from all sorts of things are a defining ingredient of American patriotism. So what's the big difference between the two groups? We're all part of the same melting pot, family environment aren't we? Here is one opinion in a nutshell.

Family usually consists of parents and children. Parents set certain rules and boundaries to maintain continuity of certain values and standards they believe are necessary to their continued survival as a family unit. The children on the other hand feel the world is changing as they grow older and they have new knowledge on just how to go about their own survival. If left to their own resources those children may get into a whole mess of trouble. The parents hold strong to their values so as to keep the children from destroying everything. The children are correct in that without change they will be left behind the rest of the world. The parents are correct in that if they embrace change without a solid reason they will be destroyed from within. Every change or lack of change has a consequence that must be taken into consideration or paid for later.

Conservatives are very much like the parents and liberals are very much like the children. Both have good ideas and both have bad ideas on just what direction to take. Sometimes the conservatives win and progress is slowed or halted in order to maintain the status quo and life remains unchanged. At other times the liberals win and progress increases at such a pace that proper boundaries are blurred to a point of anything goes. Both sides have a point. If their differences are balanced properly our advancement as a society/family advances at a tolerably desirable pace. If one side or the other has too much power the balance is destroyed and very possibly our cherished freedoms. Just like a family and it's values and way of life.

Parents and kids always have their disagreements, it's how we grow. So do liberals and conservatives. We experience that every day in a form of political tough love. That's one opinion of why it is so important that we pay attention to those things no matter which side you are on............Joe

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thunder and lightnin"

"Thunder and Lightnin', Oh yeah." The words of an old song go something like that anyway. Right now the thunder and lightnin' is going off like crazy just outside my picture window. Some of us are scared when that happens. Not me! I love the stuff. Not when it causes damage or injury of course but most often it is relatively harmless and cleanses the air of odors. Did you know that? Lightning creates ozone, ozone is called natures deodorizer, kind of like bleaching the air except it doesn't turn everything white as snow. A cup of Java, a window to look out at the storm, the strains of calming music in the background and a book on my desk filled with amusing anecdotes to read. It will be almost an hour before my busy life overtakes me and I will be completely oblivious to my surroundings and the thunder and lightning will pass almost completely unnoticed. Such is a life wearing so many hats.

One of my favorite pastimes is walking in the rain, thunder and lightning is a plus but not necessary. There is a path running alongside a creek not too far from here. It crisscrosses through a wooded area preserved to protect it's natural beauty. Natural beauty has it's cost. The progress of humanity is halted in this little sacred place. Covered with washouts and obstacles, I've occasionally had to climb over a fallen tree to continue along the overgrown pathway. So be it. Birds, ducks, bugs, spiders, the occasional deer, skunk or ground squirrel add to the mystery of what lies ahead. Bringing me back to the reality of my existence. The rain is refreshing, the thunder and lightning, to be totally honest is at the very least a little scary I guess. I almost always walk alone. It helps me remember that I am not in control here. In order to survive in the wild I have to be flexible enough to roll with and overcome whatever I am faced with.

The book I am reading is an autobiography written by a guy that's had a pretty rough existence over the past 8o some years. He rolled with the punches, got back up and offered a few punches of his own. Raw and unvarnished, this story is difficult to read and follow. I have to pick out the pertinent information from the meanderings of his uncontrolled conversation with the written word. Moving from one time to another without notice, some pages cover the course of experience over 5 decades and then back again. The purpose of my reviewing it for the writer is to improve how the story moves and hopefully discover the audience he is hoping to entertain. For myself, I am reading it as an exercise in relearning how to work with what I am faced with at any given moment instead of trying to control my every move. It is an exercise in trust of my own capabilities. I am grateful for this opportunity to grow intellectually. The particular feature that stands out in this story is the moral standards and humorous attitude that he maintained throughout all the adversity. He remained true to his own code of ethics, no matter what. A good lesson to learn. He usually knew what he had to do to survive, he usually controlled how he did it.

The thunder and lightning are subsiding somewhat, the sky is clearing a bit, the rain has slowed from a downpour to a light drizzle and it's almost time for me to get back to reality and responsibility. Ah! Life is good............................Joe

Friday, September 17, 2010

Comfort food

We each have or own opinion of exactly what to consider as a comfort food. Roast beef, pot roast, cookies, ice cream, chocolate, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, chitlins, or good old chicken soup, to each their own. When we feel down and out there is nothing quite like the taste of something familiar to cheer us up is there? Although I have a difficult time relating to the guy that absolutely loves to cut a lemon in half and suck out the juice. He says it makes him whole again. No, that's not my thing. I like sandwiches.

To be truthful about it, there are not that many times when I really need a comfort food. Life usually keeps rolling along for me, a few ups and downs from time to time but as long as I wake up in the morning I figure I've got another chance at the age old past time of pursuing happiness and that's truly a gift. There was an event about 4 months ago that sort of disrupted my ordinarily cheerful mood. A guy walked into my office and dropped a comment that literally knocked me off my feet. Something the two of us had set into motion almost 20 years ago for our mutual benefit had been squandered away and was no longer an option, period. Boy! Did I need a sandwich after that little meeting.

There are the store bought sandwiches that cover the spectrum from 200 to 4000 calories. From the cheap $1 burger to the 2 pound $15 variety or the chicken sandwich made completely without bread. Those weren't for me. I needed the genuine home made, calorie unknown, built from scratch, taste beyond belief sandwich for this moment in my life. After my trip to the store for proper ingredients, to the strains of comfortable and familiar music, I stood at the kitchen counter and slowly created my Dagwood style masterpiece. Whole wheat bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, a half inch thick slice of onion, horseradish, a bit of real mayonnaise, paper thin slices of dill pickle and just a hint of mustard. It finished out at about 4 inches thick. Then I squashed it a little so as to fit in my mouth. (Hey! It's my sandwich, nobody is there to offend, so I'm allowed to do that) Took a bite and started to feel better. Now, that's what comfort food is all about. I say, "Go for it!"

No, it didn't solve my problem. No, I didn't finish it all in one sitting. In the scope of all things both real and imagined that sandwich had no lasting affect except one: Doing something for myself reaffirmed in my own mind that I was still important and worth the effort. I'm totally comfortable with that. Comfort food, there's nothing quite like it......................Joe

Monday, September 13, 2010

End of the recession

Over the weekend one of the greatest minds of the modern world made a very profound statement of her opinion: "The end of the recession will begin with the action of only one person. That's all it takes for the economy to turn around. I'm speaking of the entire world here, it's as simple and complex as that." Wow! Just one person is holding the financial future of the population of the world in their pocketbook. I wonder if they know it? I also wonder who it is? Is it Warren Buffet? Is it the Royal leader of Saudi Arabia? Bill Gates maybe huh?

I sure wonder just how literal she was being with that statement? But, somehow it has an appeal to it. One person has changed the world before, several times actually. Gandhi, Hitler, Jesus, Charlemagne, The Hunt brothers and others too many to list. Who will it be? Do you have any idea? Is it you, me or the person standing next to you in the grocery store? I wonder if I will be there when that person pulls out their wallet and spends the dollar that sets the process in motion, effectively dissolving the negative financial crisis causing the need for businesses to begin hiring at an increasing rate and putting millions of able bodied people back to work, one worker at a time. One more of us working creates one more paycheck to buy more goods, more goods require more people to make them, more people are hired to accomplish that and so on. It's happened before, it will happen again sometime soon.

So, if that one person is you I'd like to make a small request: Would you kindly get off your rear end and buy something? It'd be nice if it would be a lot of those somethings too. There are more than a few people just waiting to make them for you. One person! That's what she said. I wonder which country that person lives in? Greece, China, Iraq, Canada or the United States or Russia all have the potential. Who has the courage?.........................Joe

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The fountain of youth

I had the excellent privilege of meeting with a large group of past high school classmates yesterday evening. What a delightful experience. A class reunion, in my opinion is the closest we'll ever come to the long sought fountain of youth. When I first walked in my first thought was "What have I gotten myself into?" My memory of names connected to faces is almost non-existent, especially given the changes we all go through as the years pass. However, there was someone that looked across the room and called out, "Joe, I'm glad you could make it!" followed by a rush through the crowd to give me a friendly handshake saying, "I'm '''''', do you remember me?" Yes, I did and suddenly I was in a friendly group of schoolmates once again with a steady stream of acquaintances busily catching up on the happenings in our lives. Within fifteen minutes we were all 18 again.

When we were all in school together it was a slightly different story. I, for my part scurried back and forth from class to class as if I was on a mission. However, being a friendly albeit sort of goofy young guy full of energy, growth spurts and extremely high expectations was finding it difficult to make time work for me very well almost to the point of appearing rude or unfriendly. I was sent to the principal or counselors office over 80 times in high school. Most were for running in the hallways between classes and a couple for being late for a class. Nothing real bad though. I worked before school, after school and on the weekends. After school activities were extremely limited and social activities almost unknown to me. The surprising thing to me is that so many of those kids that I sped so quickly by in the hallways spoke to me of the good times and fond memories they have about me. I left that social event feeling real good about myself. I felt forgiven for being a goofy kid. I brought up a few good stories of my own.

I have learned very much over my lifetime. One of the most important things is that we were all kids once. New to the world and learning the rules as we went along. In our own ways we were all sort of goofy kids. It's a pretty good group of people to belong to and be welcomed by. I couldn't help but say an immature goofy thing or two just to let them know that some things never change. None of us ever lost the love of laughter. We all need that from time to time don't we? It helps us maintain our youth.............Joe

Friday, September 10, 2010

Almost laughable

If this wasn't such a divisive subject, this Koran (Quran) burning by the pastor of a small church would be almost laughable. He's got the right, in this country anyway to express his views in a non-violent way with the beliefs as set forth in the Muslim holy book. Burning a book is one way to do that even though it's just a book. Kind of like when we kick the door when it hits us on the nose or the flat tire on a car. Yeah right, the fault lies completely with the inanimate object doesn't it? The door did it on purpose. The tire was simply waiting it's chance to go flat. Now we have a pastor burning a book to teach it a lesson about what, I'm sure I don't quite know.

Now, front and center comes an imam who says a mosque won't be built near ground zero if the book isn't burned, then the pastor says he won't burn the book. Then some other imam says the mosque will be built anyway and the whole thing starts over again and the pastor's little firestorm is back on. The pastor says what the book teaches is evil. The imam says his religion is a religion of peace. The pastor is going to burn the book peacefully. An imam will call for a peaceful holy war. The Muslims that want to build a mosque near ground zero say the pastor is being insensitive. The pastor says look who's talking.

I think they all ought to sit down and have a beer as one local elected official did with two other people that disagreed. Once again the words of folk hero Rodney King ring out, "Can't we all just get along?" Yup! If this wasn't so serious a subject it just might be laughable...............Joe

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burning the Koran

This preacher in the South is intent on making a huge deal about burning the Muslim holy book. In this country he has the right to do that. In some Muslim countries, becoming a Christian or other non-Muslim is a crime punishable by death, perhaps stoning or be-heading. Is this preacher right? It depends on your point of view. What will be the repercussions? There is an author who offended the Muslims a couple decades ago and they ordered his death, he's still in hiding most of the time. Sometimes making a point is worth dying for. All sorts of political and military leaders are saying that if this preacher burns the Koran he will be putting our people and soldiers in danger. As much as I disagree with burning that book in such a public fashion, I believe that if a group of people, religious or otherwise impose their will through threats, murder, holy wars and terrorism we are all already in danger. The preacher was asked what he thought Jesus would do. I'm thinking he better think long and hard about what Jesus did then and the instructions he gave us for the future. I don't believe I read anything about seeking publicity.

Monday, September 6, 2010

May September marriage

He's 70, she's 55. He's retired, she's in the middle of her career climb. He's a little flabby, she's tight as a drum. She wants him to shape up a bit so they go to a spa/gym and work out four times a week. He drives a deluxe minivan, she drives an Audi A8. He wants to live on a hobby horse farm somewhere in the rural countryside. She wants to buy a condo in an exclusive downtown high rise with all the amenities near theatres and museums and the arts. He likes barn dances, she likes ballroom dancing. They were married a few days ago and are now on a two month honeymoon. One month in Europe, one month in the Australian outback. They are finding a way to put their lives together in the best possible way by sharing each others likes and dislikes to find a happy medium. They feel they were made for each other.

The kicker is this. It's actually her that is 70, he is that 55. He likes the city, she is a country girl. They met at her daughter's wedding and have been almost inseparable over the past year and a half so they decided to tie the knot for ever and ever. An enjoyable couple to know. So upbeat and adventurous. The reception was held in a barn with two bands, one a little bit country and the other dealt out a steady stream of chamber music. I guess we can all learn something from them. Time will tell just what it is. Just thought I'd share their situation with you. We all live in our own situations with little hurdles to overcome. Sometimes it breaks the mold to hear about others doesn't it? Kind of like a minny mental vacation from ourselves...........Joe

(I wonder if they plan on starting a family?)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


There is a government backed home financing plan designed for low income people with bad credit. "Income to low? Credit too bad? Come to us, we have a loan for you." The ad says. I have an acquaintance that qualifies under those exact conditions and has had a steady job for over 13 years. He followed the instructions and excitedly applied for a loan. "Sorry, your income is too low and your credit score is bad." He was told. What did I miss here.

"50 inch Plasma TV for only $300 while supply lasts. One day only! Full financing, 0% interest, no payments for 3 years. No rain checks! (Other conditions may apply, qualified people only.)" I went to the store at opening time in the morning, the stock hadn't arrived yet. I returned at noon, the stock hadn't arrived yet. I returned at 5 minutes to 5 just before they closed. The shipment had still not arrived. I waited until 5 and asked again. "Sorry, they were sold out!" They said. The manager said the sale was chain wide and the other stores had sold the entire shipment before it arrived there, which was the last store on the route. I guess I missed something there too.

"Brand new, 2010 model X-car. $12,000 to new buyers only. 6 year financing plan at only 0.4% interest to qualified buyers. 0 down and $122 per month." Something was printed at the bottom of the ad but it was so small I couldn't read it. I wanted a new car, any kind of car, I could afford $122 a month. I could care less if it didn't have a radio or air conditioning. Once again I struck out. At 9am when they opened the doors they were already sold out of the new ones and all that was left was factory official cars with 20,000 miles on them. Although they hadn't been titled and were still considered new and part of the sale. The official cars also had a long list of extra accessories too: Air conditioning, sun roof, 1000 amp radio, dvd, cd, phone, gps and sattelite communication device, heated seats and mirrors, special order alloy wheels, winter trak all wheel drive, a super high output 6 cylinder engine with a supercharger, super soft leather seats, rustproofing, paint protection, fabric protector, leather protector and windshield rain coating. The final price? $23,453. I didn't ask about the payments after they asked about proof of the birth of my first born son. I guess the fine print must have described all of that.

I do like the advertising though. It got me out of the house..........................Joe

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Electronic radio waves, where do they go?

Some guy is traveling back into the Amazon forest to find out how electronic communication affects our brain. Wouldn't it be something to get paid for looking around the Amazon? However, the inference here is that somehow electronics affect us. Most scientists have debunked that theory since they were developed. Why the rush to research electronics now? Anyone in the past that said they got sick or were affected in other ways was accused of being a little off in the head and just imagining it all. Now the scientists have decided to take a second look. How come?

I've spoken in depth with a guy that had a whole bunch of questions concerning electronic transmissions. He called them electric and radio waves. His first question was: Where do the waves go that don't get caught by a radio? His answer: They get caught everywhere, just like water being absorbed by the ground. He figured that all electric sent into the air affected whatever they landed on. "Look at what happens when you send out radar waves, they are electric, you can melt a candy bar, light a light bulb or look right into a real person. "What makes any other radio wave any less powerful?" He asks. Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

For decades some farmers have said that they get less milk from their cows because of the high voltage wires running across or next to their farms. "Bologna!" Say the scientists. Yet, if we go near those wires, even without touching them we could be injured or killed just by getting too close. Hmmm!

So now since a scientist is going somewhere to study the affects of electronic stuff I'm guessing the scientific world is thinking it might be time to take another look at what this guy told me. Or, are they just finding a way to save face after their resounding denials of what may be the truth. Radio waves travel hundreds of thousands of miles through space, until they hit something. Next time you send a text message or make a phone call think about what happens to it. What if it hits something besides your recipients phone? What if it hits a bird....or a cow?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

President Obama and the mosque

President Obama speaks out concerning building a Mosque at or near ground zero.

Insensitivity seems to be rampant on the political scene lately. In the hopes of setting themselves up as leaders of the free world, politicians make, what they think to be monumental statements regarding the freedoms set forth in our constitution. Sometimes they appear to get it right, sometimes not. Sometimes it's not a matter of right or wrong, it just depends upon which side of the opinion you are on. It's rather befuddling to say the least. Politics, I thought were a process of negotiation to achieve some type of acceptable middle middle ground on subjects of importance to the local or national concerns. Suddenly it's a method for dictating moral judgement. I'll pass if you don't mind.

With all due respect to the office of President of the United States, I will not allow Mr. Obama to be my moral compass. I do not feel that it is our moral, ethical or legal responsibility to allow a Mosque to be built on or near ground Zero where a terrorist act was committed against thousands of innocents by a radical group of murderous Muslims. I fail to see the importance of building the Mosque there. I do see it as a sign of disdain toward our rights when it comes to freedom. A slap in the face. A sign of degradation. History has shown that those wishing to destroy a free country simply need to use their precious freedoms against them and they will destroy themselves.

"Muslims are a religious group of freedom loving and peaceful people. The terrorist acts are performed by a small radical faction. This Mosque at ground zero will be a sign of peace."

"Nazi's are a peace loving, religious group of people. The murderous acts of the war were committed by only a small radical segment of that group. They should be able to build a Nazi meeting hall next the the Holocaust museum as a sign of respect."

"The K.K.K. is a group of God fearing, loving, peaceful people. Just a misguided few of them liked to hang certain people they didn't like. They should be able to build a K.K.K. memorial in downtown Harlem."

We should take a lesson from the Sunnies and the Shiite Muslim groups. Just build next to each other and everyone will "all get along together." At least after all the suicide terrorists blow themselves up along with the rest of the population. Are they wanting to build a mosque to promote peace? Or, is it a sign of conquest? To the victor go the spoils and the right to record history.

No Thank you Mr. President! I don't think you thought this one out. I disagree! I still have that right, at least for now.......Joe

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fall TV line-up "I think."

The fall line-up of new TV shows is starting to take shape. As viewers we are given little snippets to whet our appetites for exciting new entertainment. Reality shows head the list of popular viewing.Survivor will be back with at least two age brackets competing. From what I understand, age 30 and under in one competition and another group age 40 and older. My first thought was, "What about the group from age 30 to age 40?" I still have to look into that but maybe it's because people of that age haven't quite found themselves yet. Whenever I watch TV it's usually late at night or early in the morning and I'm more than half asleep but I think I may have heard about some other reality shows too. I think they may have gone something like this:

"America's most beloved politician" Hosted by Mrs. Pelosi.
Competition includes talent search for musical instruments, Staying awake during proceedings, how to deal with kickbacks, using government jets for travel, getting the most from office staff, manipulating facts and ability in denial with a straight face.

"America's Best Illegal Alien" Hosted by an various anonymous people. (To avoid prosecution)
Competition includes fence climbing, swimming, detection avoidance, camouflage, running in the dark and the grand finale', How to protest against unfair immigration laws.

"America's most frivolous lawsuit?" Hosted by various guest litigation attorneys.
Competition will be based on proficiency in crying, whining, limping, back grabbing, writhing in pain, deceit, outright lying and working for cash under the table to avoid detection.

Other shows were probably announced but I fell completely asleep. Sorry..............Joe

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fishing or not

To leave, or not to leave, That is the question.

The motor home is packed, the lot is reserved, the fishing boat is hooked up and I'm ready to go. The storms are moving in and if I know what's good for me I'll put everything back into the garage and settle down to read a good book instead of going on my long anticipated, weekend fishing trip. 100% chance of hail and high winds, lightning and flood warnings abound, even a tornado or two have popped up the last few days. Why do I continuously watch out the window for a break in the weather? Do I think that somehow in His busy day God will change the forecast just for me? Of course I do! I'm a true fisherman. It's the optimism by which we live. Each and every time we toss that line into the water we actually believe there is a trophy lunker fish waiting just below the surface. It's only a short distance of thought to switch over to a miracle like changing the weather isn't it?

No, I won't be going this weekend after all. Not a big deal, I'll just make it another weekend instead. Where I go, the fish are always biting. I've learned long ago to be a flexible person. Flexible is the standard for survival and sanity in a state like Michigan where the weather changes constantly from one extreme to another. I would probably be out on the water already except for the lightning. Standing on the bow of a boat, out in the middle of a lake, pointing a fishing rod skyward when lightning decides to strike is not the brightest of ideas is it? Even though, in hopes of being there when that trophy fish bites, the urge still exists to battle the elements. If you fish you understand I am sure. It's all in being there.

So, I will watch the weather until the sun goes down anyway. Tomorrow I'll put all that fishing stuff away until another day. All, except one pole which I'll take to a local pond and catch what I can. Some fishermen don't fish unless it's for a particular species, bass, pike, crappie, whatever. Not me, I fish, period. As a matter of fact, if this storm continues too long, my neighbor that has an aquarium in his living room best not invite me over and leave me unattended by that aquarium. I wonder if those fighting fish really fight all that well?...................

Friday, July 23, 2010

Competing in little known sports

"Competitive Cheer Leading" has been making the headlines lately right along with "Competitive Eating." I rank those two sports right up there with competitive Poker and Chess for pure excitement. Realizing that this is simply my opinion and there may or may not be anyone else agreeing with me. As much as I enjoy car shows, chock full of customized and restored vehicles of all shapes and models representing hours and hours of labor and thousands upon thousands of dollars, I'm not sure I'd call the competition an exciting sport. Only speaking as an observer of course. I figure, if you want to do something and do it well you must do it to please yourself, not the observer. But then again, if you want to get awards and collect money for it you have to then please the observer too.

Competition can be intense in any of those activities but many times it's not as obvious to every observer. Although this cheerleading can get pretty rough and tumble and I admire the participants. It is not my intention to demean any particular competition here, you can't argue with a massive audience. However, certain elements of the competitive spirit escape me sometimes. It's sort of obvious why mini bikini beach volleyball is popular, even with the sound turned down, but poker? A bunch of players sit around a table pushing out chips and making faces at each other. Competitive eating on the other hand always holds out hope for someone overindulging and throwing up. I have a tremendous amount of admiration for anyone that can compete in the game of chess, but once again as an observer it's not my cup of tea. Golf is on the fringe here, kind of close with Cricket when it comes to my attention. At least competitive barbecuing has the added benefit of food for the judges. I have noticed that the popularity of legitimate competitive combined beer drinking and jart throwing is slowing though.

At a few campgrounds and church picnics I've found competitive horseshoes as usual but coming up in the ranks is competitive ladderball and washer throwing. I went to a couple association picnics and watched women throw rolling pins at cardboard images of their husbands. Perhaps there is no end to what we can define as competitive. Some activities that pop into my head are: sewing, carpet cleaning, varnishing, window washing, shoelace tying, remote channel changing, computer booting etc. etc. I wonder if these types of competition are becoming popular because so little competition is allowed on the school playgrounds these days and people thirst for competition in order to find out where they excel? That's just a random thought, of course. You know me and my random thoughts don't you? I can certainly compete on a professional level with random thoughts. Wonder which channel it's on?...........Joe

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kindergarten and the blame game

Who did it? Who's responsible? I'm totally innocent! They made me do it! Sound familiar? Right out of the kindergarten hand book: When caught red handed, find someone else to blame. There is a lot of that going around lately.

I just finished reading, for the second or third time "All I really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, by author Robert Fulghum. It was published about 20 years ago, and may not be in print anymore. Kind of boring reading actually but still has some informative stuff in it along with a chuckle or two. It's spattered with little bits of wisdom from the ages: Play fair, don't hit people, flush, wash your hands, share, put things back and more, all good rules to live by. But there are other, less acceptable things we learned back then too, When you do something wrong forget it immediately and blame someone else, Cry and whine when you think someone doesn't share with you, Take what you can get. Most of us lose the unacceptable rules as we get older, some of us don't.

The news is filled with such things as denial, blame, whining and crying lately. From politics to business and literally all of life people are hanging onto those silly childish, kindergarten corruptions. Big oil says it's not their fault, government officials say it's not their fault, people that drive gasoline powered vehicles say it's not their fault and right on down the line. A bill was defeated concerning the extension of unemployment benefits, one party says it was the other party's fault, the other party says it was not, people unemployed for two or more years were going to lose their benefits because no one could agree on where the money was going to come from. Another blame game. "Not me!" "Not me!"

We live in an exciting time. Not a particularly fun or easy time but exciting never-the-less. It won't be any less exciting if some of us start taking responsibility for our own actions will it? I think it will become a bit more fun and possibly easier because we won't be so busy pointing fingers. My finger is getting a little sore anyway.............Joe

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Publishers and Authors

Phew! Good things are happening with my publisher way faster than I can keep up with. I just sent off a letter to them asking for a slow down, easier to read information synopsis. Joe's Story has always been available in an easy to read, hard paper back version for $29.95. Huge amounts of copies have been sold over the past three years. Personal library quality, collector, hardcover copies have been surprisingly popular too. Now the publisher has made available a soft cover version for only $14.95 and also a paperback for only $9.95. I can't keep up with it all.

I have very much enjoyed working with my publisher. They have allowed me the flexibility I need in my busy, busy life. However, the part I find disconcerting right now during this exciting time of growth is that currently all the correspondence is carried out via email. My inbox has become saturated with emails from them. Through their policy of informative disclosure they have been sending emails at the rate of sometimes three or four times a day. Some are repetitive and some almost totally confusing. I. being the author must authorize their changes to our original agreement. I just sent off a request for clarification on what I have or have not authorized up to this point. The emails from them are computer generated, all encompassing and mass distributed to all the authors they represent, which numbers in the tens of thousands. I humbly requested a personal response. This is a very exciting time. My publisher is making some really innovative and progressive changes in order to keep up with demand and maintain availability. They don't take a hind seat to anyone it that category. But, every once in a while I believe an author needs a pat on the back and some inclusive interaction from those publishers.

There have been some pretty extenuating circumstances occurring over the past few years that were quite out of my control but requiring my help and demanding much of my attention. The promotion of Joe's Story and it's hard won lesson concerning CO poisoning was conducted in a lesser enthusiastic way than I would have otherwise preferred. That may be about to change. I feel it is important that my publisher and I go into that long anticipated and exciting phase in the same frame of thought.

I wish you a safe and wonderful day.........................Joe

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blogging comments in other languages

I have been participating in an intensive study program to improve some of my skills. It's been time consuming and exhausting but is winding down now so I can return to my usual writing regimen.

I am the first to admit that I am not the most educated person there ever was. But, I was not exposed to foreign language study to any great degree while in organized schooling either. Latin was interesting and is a foundation for many modern Romance languages today. I signed up for Latin in 9th grade because of along standing desire to become a priest and Latin was the language of the church at the time. As it turned out there are two distinctly different forms of Latin. Also, as it turned out, as a budding teenage boy my eyes turned from the priesthood to the perky cheerleaders. Be that as it may and a story for another day I am confused about an interesting turn of events lately. Many comments on my blog are in some form of Asian language. I have absolutely no background in this type of language other than I think I was cussed out in one once when a little old man bumped into me with a grocery cart. I've been told the Internet has sights where translations are instant. That's great! But by now most of you know that I am not in the least bit proficient in the intricacies of Internet use either. Although I appreciate any meaningful comments and find the perspective of other cultures often brings much color to otherwise bland subjects sometimes, it doesn't mean much when I can't read it now does it?

The indecipherable, to me anyway, comments are useless to me. I have no idea if they are nonsense or filled with wisdom, advertisements, snide, rude or humorous. I say this just in case anyone needs to know. I read and write in pretty much conventional English. I am always interested in meaningful comments but please make them in the language I can understand or send me to a site I can readily translate so we may communicate in a reasonable fashion. Thanks........................Joe
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