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Battling e-mails . . .

Battling e-mails . . .

For some time I have considered posting this series of e-mails but I have held the posting in abeyance until now. I doubt that many viewers will hang on long enough to finish reading it, but that will be their loss. It seemed to me in the past that a rift had been created between me and the finest neighbor and friend one could ever wish for, and through no fault of either of us. Nevertheless, it appeared to exist—now it seems to have gone away, or perhaps never was.

These are the e-mails that passed between me and my neighbor lady to the west, posted as transmitted and as received. My e-mails are in standard type and hers are in italics.

Feb 3, 2010:

Good morning, Sherlock Holmes here:

I’m currently conducting an investigation to determine why and how my daily copy of the Express-News is mysteriously appearing on my front step, neatly placed there by someone or something to be determined. It was there this morning at an early hour. Today is the second time the phenomenon has occurred in as many weeks, and we had rain on both days.

My first thought was that the paper carrier wanted to ensure that the paper stayed dry, but it was double-bagged and would have to be submerged before it could suffer any damage. Besides, I have not remitted a gratuity to the carrier since 2007 and cannot reasonably expect her to be so obliging. Unless, of course, she is buttering me up for the coming Christmas season. I suppose that could be it, but I have serious doubts.

I next considered the possibility that Rudy, the cat that lives with the family across the street, is picking the paper up with his teeth and placing it in a dry spot, hoping for a continuation of the chicken and salmon handouts.

That is not likely, because he was nowhere in sight when I picked up the paper either time. He did not show at all on the first day, and as of the time of this writing I have not seen him today. That reduces the probability that he is doing the good deed. I suppose Ralph, the cat that resides with my neighbor to the west, could harbor the same thoughts, but I would think that Rudy would be more likely.

There is a third possibility, one a teeny bit more plausible than the first two. Two weeks ago I stepped out on my stoop, looked very carefully in all directions, except to the rear because no danger lurked in that direction. The coast was clear (so to speak), so I ambled out toward the mailbox (the paper was in proximity to said letter receptacle). Wearing a bright green fuzzy housecoat and brown house shoes, I arrived at my destination and bent over to pick up my paper, and at that instant I heard someone say, very audibly and gleefully, “I wish I had a camera!”

As to whether my ensemble included pajamas, it did not. A pair of skinny white legs were in full view. Well, not in full view, just up to mid-tibia. Said legs were supported by a matching pair of skinny white feet, ensconced in brown leather house shoes.

So the third possibility is that the person that voiced that wish, not wishing to be faced with that apparition again, is defending himself by placing the paper on my stoop, thereby keeping me out of sight in the process of retrieving my paper.

This is a very serious investigation, and I would be grateful for any and all assistance.

Feb 3, 2010

WHAT???? Your paper doesn’t get wet??? Our paper gets soaked. Now that I think about it, the water probably runs down the driveway right into the bag. Well, I don’t think you need to worry about your paper phenomenon any longer. Do let me know if the culprit starts hiding the paper, though. That would definitely require a more thorough investigation.

Kathy

At this point a three-day quiet ensues with no e-mails between me and my neighbor. I was very busy running between home and the hospital and I neglected to read and respond to my e-mails.

Feb 6, 2010

It has been eerily quiet over there. Did my response offend you? You are very funny and clever in your writings. When I try that tactic, it usually backfires, since I am neither funny nor clever. I did put your paper on your porch because I thought it was getting soaked like ours often does. Your white legs had nothing to do with it! Now that I know your paper does not get wet, I’ll leave it there. You are free to retrieve it in whatever attire you choose. I often retrieve our paper in my robe. So, let’s just agree to leave our cameras out of this.

Kathy

P.S. You are a very good writer, a trait that obviously not everyone has. I hope you decide to continue writing your memoirs for a potential book. I’d definitely buy one, but I would want it autographed.

Feb 7, 2010

Hi, Kathy,

I read your e-mail at 2:30 this morning (I had a brief sleep last night —up at 2:01). Nothing new there, of course—my sleep is brief on most nights.

A hundred mea culpas!

No, make that a thousand mea culpas because there is nothing you, Kevin or Ralph could do to offend me, and had you and Kevin and Ralph not banished the girls to another exotic location, there is nothing they could do to offend me. Even if you, Kevin, Ralph, the banished iguanas and your extended family banded together in a concerted effort to offend me, I would not be offended. The only way you could possibly come close to offending me would be to take me and my babbling seriously—life is simply too short for me to be serious—besides, it’s not in my nature!

I had the best of intentions to answer your previous two e-mails, the one on Victor Borge’s video that Cindy posted, and the one in which you asked me to let you know “if the culprit starts hiding the paper.” Of course, as the saying goes, “The road to (fill in the blank) is paved with good intentions.”

Unfortunately, recent events got in the way and I delayed my responses (actually, that means I forgot to respond). We’ve had an unusually busy week, and things are not going as well as we would like. Yesterday especially was not a good day, but things seem to have leveled off. I believe—I hope and I pray—that the worst is over.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I found that phrase on Wikipedia— I am greviously at fault, and as an apology Wikipedia said it far better than I could.

I have no knowledge of how or why or when your Sunday paper was placed neatly just outside your door this morning, placed at a right angle to the street (I just pray that the picker-upper doesn’t trip over it). Also if I were forced to guess, I would guess that it was placed by some nut wearing a bright green robe, etc., etc. I would also hazard a guess that the deed was accomplished somewhere around 6:00 AM (Central Time).

March 2, 2010:

A card from Kathy, delivered by the US Postal Service although our mailboxes are approximately sixty feet apart:

Dear green-robed phantom and your pink-robed wife:

Thank you so much for the delicious edible arrangement! That was quite a surprise. The other big surprise is that you used 4 exclamation points after “Happy Birthday.” I was so perplexed that I questioned Kevin, “Do we know any other green and pink-robed couples?”

I hope you know that your presence as our neighbors is truly a real gift. Any more than that is really not necessary. Thank you, though. That was very kind!

Your (one year older) neighbor,

Kathy

March 3, 2010

Dear One Year Older Neighbor,

Thanks for the card and for the kind thoughts, especially the thought that you consider our presence as your neighbors to be a real gift. I wish I had said it first but I didn’t, so I’ll just bounce it right back at you. Regarding our presence as neighbors, As ours is to you, so yours is to us.

On the subject of exclamation points, I have given up. You know that in a dog fight the vanquished dog, rather than running, may simply end the fight by lying on his back, thereby giving the victor access to his underbelly, his most vulnerable area—it is a sign of surrender.

I’m not going to that extreme, but I have surrendered. I have given up on my quest to eliminate, or even to reduce, exclamation points. I realize that the practice is too well entrenched, so I’ve decided that if I can’t beat ‘em, I’ll join ‘em! And I enjoy it—it’s fun!

I just took a closer look at the sentence that says “As ours is to you, so yours is to us.” When viewed out of context it seems to take on some profound meaning, similar to a Tibetan monk’s summary of life or some other chant.

Try it. Read it aloud several times. Look real solemn and speak in a deep tone. You’ll find that it takes on mystic properties. I think I may have created something. I should probably copyright it!

March 4, 2010:

You are so funny!! I wish the Express-News would replace that Marcie Meffert (Elders Express) in the S.A. Life with your writing. I’m not sure what the “elders” is for, and I’m not implying anything concerning your age here. I think she writes for the group of readers who would also qualify for AARP membership, older folks fifty-ish plus. I have only read her articles a few times, but I have yet to read one that I like. She tries to tell stories about her life, and I think she is trying to be humorous. She seems to be lacking the charm that you seem to have captured. You are a far superior writer, and way funnier! This “Dear Neighbor” writing had me LOL today! I agree on the mystic properties—copyright it!

Kathy

March 5, 2010:

Those are some really kind words. Ain’t nobody that good, but you finally convinced me! Normally I would be delighted to replace the Meffert lady, but I have such distaste for the Express-News that I would be unwilling to have my name associated with it. I fought a running battle last year with Bob Richter, the editor for Letters to the Editor—dueling e-mails, if you will, and I won—he apologized for his lapse in judgment. He had asked for permission to print my letter, saying that he liked it but would omit my “whining” about the paper. I refused to authorize its publication.

I no longer strive to have my thoughts printed in Your Turn of the Metro section of the Express-News—my gain, the public’s loss. However, I sometimes throw rocks at the paper by posting items that I did not submit for publication, then I bad-mouth the Express-News on Word Press by claiming that my submission was rejected. Sneaky, huh?

Kathy, it really is a small world—we were neighbors to the Meffert family for several years in the latter part of the 1960s, with only one house between us, in what was then a decent lower-middle-class neighborhood near Lackland Air Force Base. It’s now a shambles, a nightmare with gang activity everywhere, gunshots frequently heard both day and night, lots of graffiti, chain-link-fenced front yards and junked cars behind them. The fences are not to keep the kids in—they’re there to keep the dogs out and to slow down burglars laden with items purloined from the houses.

Marcie had five children, two girls and three boys, their ages ranging from one year up to nine years—a very fertile lady, that one! Her husband was a surgical dentist in Lackland’s dental service, and attended me through a long series of dental procedures required by my failure to pay proper attention to dental matters. I was a smoker at the time—he said he did not smoke, and frequently lectured me on the evils of tobacco, then on almost every visit apologetically bummed a cigarette from me.

We were never close friends with the parents. We waved at them when appropriate, and Marcie and Janie often stood outside to discuss whatever women discuss—their children, I would suspect—Marcie was usually out looking for her children. As best as I can remember, neither family ever entered the other family’s house, probably because neither family ever invited the other family in. However, we came to know her children well. She put them out to graze each morning and called them back in for lunch and dinner, leaving the neighbors to look out for the kids. They were well behaved—the older girl was Cindy’s best friend, and she spent lots of time in our home.

All five children received good educations and seemed to fare well following graduation. Cindy’s best friend Lisa died several months ago—her obituary in the Express-News said only that she died suddenly. The obituary included her siblings’ names, marital status and their whereabouts. Their various professions were impressive—two colonels in the military, two doctors and one biology professor. I am of the opinion that their early association with our girls gave them the necessary head start to put them on the way to success—then again, maybe not.

When we returned to San Antonio in 1987, Marcie was the mayor of Leon Valley and wrote a column on city activities. I believe the Elders Express gig came after she was no longer the mayor. We have never made any effort to contact her to talk about old times. Lacking any strong desire to relive history with Marcie, we have been content to read her columns. Those columns, along with her daughter’s obituary, comprise our knowledge of her and her family.

But it is a small world, wouldn’t you agree?

March 5, 2010:

Agreed—a very small world sometimes! I hope that my observations of her writings weren’t too unkind. I just think that you would be a much better writer for that spot in the paper. Well, as long as I’m wishing, you’d make a far better editor to the Letters to the Editor too, but let’s not even go there!

I see that you and Kevin must have talked. He didn’t know that I would be home for a short time this afternoon and I didn’t know either. One of my tutoring students canceled out, so they may make the delivery while I’m here. If they do I’ll call and let you know. Thanks!

Kathy

March 5, 2010

Your observations of her writings were not unkind at all, and your analysis of her work is right on. Writing with a restricted amount of space is more difficult than the writing I do. I have unlimited space and therefore just keep writing until I everything I want to say has been said, and is available somewhere among the verbiage. The reader just needs to keep sifting through the chaff in order to find the kernels of wheat.

At various duty stations during my military career, I wrote performance reports for a whole gaggle of people, officers as well as enlisted people, and that included writing my own performance reports. My superior only needed to sign them. The writing wasn’t part of my job. People heard about the guy that could get a person promoted and came to me with the details. I fashioned them into a performance report. The narrative had to be fitted into a limited space, and I soon learned that 250 words wrested from my vocabulary filled that space nicely. When I reached the magic number, I stopped writing.

No, writing such reports was not my job. I was a maintenance analysis superintendent, whatever that was, and I dealt more with numbers than with words. I hated numbers and loved words. Go figure!

While at Kelly Air Force Base in the late 1960s, I wrote performance reports for my commanding officer. In our association over a period of five years, he was promoted twice, from lieutenant colonel to full colonel and then to brigadier general. Coincidentally, I was promoted twice during the same period. My pay raises were not quite as generous as his, of course, and shortly after the second promotion, both his and mine, I was unceremoniously shipped off to Vietnam. I guess the general figured that one star was all he was going to get. Bummer!

November 16, 2010:

That concludes the exchange of e-mails between me and my neighbor. I trust that some of my viewers made it this far in this posting. I realize it’s lengthy, but I also realize that it contains some interesting neighborly communications, perhaps with comical, even historical value that may appeal to my family and to my neighbor and her family, and perhaps to some of my viewers—I hope, I hope!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

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My cologne? Eau de Bush’s Fried Chicken . . .

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Forum yesterday. No, belay that—I didn’t mean the Forum—that’s where Julius Caesar was heading when Brutus intercepted him and said, Here, Julius, hold this! and then stabbed him. No, I was on the way home from having lunch at Bush’s Chicken Restaurant in Converse, Texas and a funny thing happened when I stopped at the newly opened 99 Cent Store at Thousand Oaks Drive and Jones Maltsberger in San Antonio.

That store was open for a year or so then closed for some reason. The closing saddened me—among many other bargains they sold watermelons for 99 cents, the same brand that the HEB supermarket across the street was selling for prices up to seven dollars. The 99 Cents Store just reopened with lots of fanfare, with grand opening day bargains that included 22-inch flat screen TVs for 99 cents to the first nine people through the door—people began lining up two full days before opening day with picnic chests, coolers and lounge chairs.

The store was open two days before the Grand Opening, and I stopped there the day before the Grand Opening. They were closed that day, and a nice lady told me that as I was exiting my car. She and her husband had just been turned away, and she was kind enough to brief me before I made the trek to the front door.

The couple were long past the eligibility age for AARP, but I must say for the lady that she retained a keen sense of smell. After she told me the store was closed, she said, Sir, can you tell me the name of your cologne? and I, nonplussed, said Excuse me? She asked me again, saying that she really liked my cologne, that the scent was heavenly and she just wondered what it was called—I suppose she intended to purchase some for her husband, or perhaps for herself—who knows?

I use neither cologne nor aftershave lotion—in fact, I do not shave because I have a full beard and mustache. I use deodorant but it’s unscented, as is my bath soap. I answered the lady truthfully, without a hint of laughter, not even a smile.

I said, Ma’am, I don’t use cologne. That isn’t cologne you smell—it’s Bush’s fried chicken. My clothes and those of my wife had apparently absorbed the odor of fried chicken, plus we had a take-out box with leftover chicken pieces resting on the pullout drink holder on the dashboard. It was a hot August day with virtually no breeze, and the odor exited the car at the same time I did.

This is a true story, certifiably a candidate for Ripley’s Believe it or Not—had my wife not been with me to verify its truth, I don’t believe I would have ever told the story. Veracity is one of my pitifully few positive attributes, one that I strive to attain and maintain in all my conversations with others, whether written or vocal. I freely admit that I boast a lot, a fact that is substantiated by some of my postings on Word Press, but hey—it ain’t bragging if you done it!

The lady acknowledged her faux pas gracefully and with laughter, and asked for more information on the source of my heavenly odor. I briefed her on the two locations of Bush’s Chicken Restaurants in the city of Converse and told her that other outlets in the San Antonio area were on the drawing boards.

Please don’t tell Bill Miller of Bill Miller’s Restaurants what I told the lady before we parted. Bill Miller’s is a chain of restaurants that offer fried chicken as a staple along with barbecue and sausage and brisket, tacos, iced tea, and various pies, ubiquitous in San Antonio and with locations in other Texas cities. Some locations, but not all, serve breakfasts, and their tacos are outstanding. When you go, and I know you will, try the potato, egg and cheese taco—it’s great!

I told her that Bush’s Chicken Restaurants plan to open more outlets in the San Antonio area and would likely give Bill Miller a run for the money—at least in the fried chicken part of his business.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 13, 2010 in fast food, food, Humor

 

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Letter to the editor, SA Express-news: On polls . . .

This letter was not published because it was not presented for the editor’s review—it was not presented to him because, based on considerable personal experience accumulated over a period of many years, I felt certain it would be rejected out-of-hand by the Express-News editor—as of this posting, I have never had a letter rejected by WordPress.com—they seem to welcome my letters—never a refusal.

Letter to the editor:

San Antonio Express-News

October 4, 2009

Re: Joann Smith’s letter entitled People want reform, published in Your Turn today, rebutted a letter by Col. James Vinci concerning columnist Froma Harrop. In a recent column, Froma quoted a poll by the New England Journal of Medicine that showed that 73 percent of doctors polled were in favor of a public insurance option in the administration’s proposed changes to health care. The colonel challenged that percentage, claiming that a recent poll showed that most doctors opposed HR 3200. The author of People want reform states that Col. Vinci failed to cite which poll, and that he charged Froma with hypocritically cherry-picking statistics.

In her letter today, Joann Smith states that “Poll after poll shows that Americans, across all demographic lines, support having a public insurance option available. Check polls by ABC, CBS, AARP, Time Magazine, Kaiser. Americans want the choice of a public option.

Congress, are you listening to the people?”

Really, Ms Adams? You gave us a very short list. Why did you not list some other well-known organizations, news and otherwise, that frequently conduct polls which, ultimately and predictably, show support for the current administration regardless of the subject. The polls may be tailored to the national health program, specifically to the public insurance option, or to the administration’s stand on immigration, legal and illegal, or to the recession, or to the administration’s stand on foreign policy—how to handle Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Israel, North Korea, China, Poland, ad infinitum.

Here are some others you could have properly cited, but you did not:

Why not NBC?

Why not NPR?

Why not the Harvard School of Public Health?

It is notable that the Kaiser Family Foundation recently joined NPR (National Public Radio) and the Harvard School of Public Health in a new poll, Survey on the Role of Health Care Interest Groups, published September 30, 2009.

Here’s the online news announcement:

New NPR/Kaiser/Harvard Poll Examines Public’s Views of the Role of Health Care Interest Groups in the Health Care Debate

It must be noted that all three entities are far to the left of center—all can legitimately be considered hard-core far-left organizations. Predictably, the poll showed wide support for the administration’s efforts to create a national health care plan, including the public  option.

It’s also notable that “Representatives of the three organizations worked together to develop the survey questionnaire and to analyze the results, with NPR maintaining editorial control over its broadcasts on the surveys,” as stated in the news announcements.

In conclusion, some special notes for Ms Adams:

Poll results are presented in numerical figures, and the results can easily be manipulated by the nature of the questions, by the demographics of the people and the area being polled and how the respondents’ answers are analyzed—in fine, Ms Adams, figures don’t lie, but liars figure—a corollary is that polls don’t lie, but pollsters figure. Some pollsters know exactly what they want from a survey, and then manipulate the various parts of the poll to accomplish the goal they desire.

In the interest of full disclosure, it must be stated that the ability to manipulate poll results is not restricted to the political left—it is also available, and is used, by centrists and by the political right. Some use that ability far more than others, and some are far more adept at skewing the results.

In the matter of politics, particularly in the matter of political polls, one should cover all the venues—books, newspapers, movies, television and talk radio—one should read, look, listen and learn in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Just a suggestion: Every one that reads this posting will profit by picking up the TV remote and channel surfing until they find a news source that uses this motto:

“We report—you decide.”

Bias exists on the channel that uses the motto, “We report—you decide” but in far less degree than other, perhaps most, news sources. It’s everywhere, similar to the air we breathe. And just as our atmosphere at some locations contains more pollution than others, the degree to which political bias exists depends on the source, whether on television, on radio, in face-to-face gatherings or in print.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

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Letter to AARP . . .

I received this letter in a friend’s e-mail and felt that it would be worthwhile to make it available to everyone that visits my blog—it’s a good read, regardless of one’s political preferences or affiliation. In the interests of full disclosure, I must tell you that the original letter, although written in the first person, was signed by two people, so I took liberties and edited it, including the substitution of the personal plurals of we, us and ours. And I, without the slightest hint of blushing, consider my editing to have significantly improved the original letter.

Hey, it’s my blog—I’m allowed to do that, especially if it adds to, and does not take from, the spirit and intent of the missive.

Okay?

Lighten up!

This is the e-mail I received—the first paragraph is by the sender of the e-mail:

This letter is well written, and it’s a good shot across the bow of AARP. I checked it out and it’s a real letter, and Miller Farms Equine Transport is real. The letter to the AARP says it all, a must read regardless of one’s age. Some people just make sense in what they say, and this couple certainly does that. Their letter was sent to Mr. Rand, the Executive Director of AARP, and is as follows:

Dear Mr. Rand,

Recently you sent a letter encouraging us to renew our lapsed membership in AARP by the requested date. We know this is not the letter you were looking for, but this is the most honest response we can give you.

Our gap in coverage is merely a microscopic symptom of the real problem, a deepening lack of faith. While we have proudly maintained our membership for several years and have long-admired AARP’s goals and principles, we regret that we cannot endorse its abdication of our values.

Your letter specifically stated that we may depend on AARP to speak up for our rights, yet the voice we hear is not ours—it’s yours. Your offer of keeping us up to date on important issues through Divided We Fail presents neither an impartial view nor the one we have come to embrace. We do believe that when two parties agree all the time on everything presented to them, one is probably not necessary. But when the opinions and long-term goals of the two parties are diametrically opposed, divorce is imminent.

This is the philosophy that spawned our 200 years of government. At one time we looked forward to being part of the senior demographic. We looked to AARP to provide certain benefits and give our voice a power we could not possibly hope to achieve on our own. AARP gave us a sense of belonging, one that we no longer enjoy. The socialist politics practiced by the present administration, and empowered by AARP, serve only to raise the blood pressure our medical insurance strives to contain—clearly a conflict of interest!

We do not understand AARP’s posture. We feel greatly betrayed by the guiding forces that we expected to map out our senior years, and we leave your ranks with a great sense of regret. We mitigate that disappointment with the relief of knowing that we are not contributing to the problem anymore by renewing our membership. There are numerous other organizations that offer discounts without threatening our way of life or offending our sensibilities.

This administration scares the living daylights out of us, not just for ourselves, but also for our proud and bloodstained heritage, and even more important, for what our children and grandchildren will inherit. Washington has rendered Soylent Green a prophetic cautionary tale rather than a fictional scare tactic.

We have never endorsed any militant or radical groups, yet now we find ourselves listening to them. We don’t have to agree with them to appreciate the fear that birthed their existence. Their borderline insanity presents little more than a balance to the voice of the socialist mindset of those in power. We became Americans by a great stroke of luck in some cosmic uterine lottery, but as adults we choose to embrace our heritage, and we embrace and nurture the freedoms it represents and the responsibilities it requires.

Your website generously offers us the opportunity to receive all communications in Spanish. Are you kidding? People are breaking into our houses and invading our homes without our invitation or consent. And now our president insists that we keep the invaders in comfort and learn their language so we can communicate our reluctant welcome to them.

We do not choose to welcome them.

We do not choose to support them.

We do not choose to educate them.

We do not choose to medicate them.

We do not choose to feed, clothe or house them.

American home invaders are arrested. Please explain to us why foreign lawbreakers enjoy privileges on American soil that Americans do not have. Legal immigrants must comply with our immigration laws to be welcomed, yet illegal “immigrants” need only break and enter to be welcomed!

We travel for a living. We transport horses all over this great country, averaging more than 10,000 miles a month. While out there we meet more people than a politician overdosed on caffeine. Of all the many good folks we met on our last 10,000 miles, the trip yielded only one supporter of this administration. Either we, or those that determine policy at AARP, are out of touch with mainstream America. Since our poll is conducted without funding, I have more faith in it than any poll which is power driven.

We have decided to forward this letter to everyone on our mailing list, and will encourage all to do the same. With several hundred people in our address book, we have faith that the eventual exponential factor will make a credible statement to you.

We are disappointed as hell.

We are scared as hell.

We are mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it any more!

Walt and Cyndy,

Miller Farms Equine Transport

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2009 in Obama administration, politics

 

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