Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Exorcist and Jimmy Sanders

Facebook is really great, thanks to facebook I found my old buddy Jimmy Sanders. Jimmy is the first guy I met when I went to college - at East Texas State University (aka, Easy T). Jimmy and I were great tennis partners in school. Jimmy reminded me of this ugly incident.

While we were in college Jimmy came by the house to invite us to go see a new movie called The Exorcist. Jimmy said it was real scary and that people had been fainting while watching it at the theaters in Dallas. To me, a scary movie was something like Dracula, Frankenstein, or the Wolfman. So, I said great let's go to Dallas and see it.

Little did I know how my Baptist upbringing had so ill-prepared me to confront Satan as depicted in The Exorcist. As far as my training went, Satan, was a real sharp dressed guy, who was always trying to get you to commit a sin. He did this in various ways, usually by tempting you with something cool (money, women, booze, cars, etc). Satan never bellowed, turned green, spun his head around, or threw up green pea soup on you - at least not where I went to church.

That movie scared the Hell out of me. On the way home, I said every single prayer I could think of. And I didn't sleep well for several nights after that.

I didn't know anything about Catholicism but my college Spanish teacher was a former Nun in the Church. So I set up a meeting to see her in regard to the Exorcist and exorcism in general. This turned out to be another bad move on my part. She explained to me how she had been at The Alexian Brothers Medical Center in St. Louis where a boy had been possessed by the Devil. She told how you could here the kid screaming all over the campus. She also said that a priest went in and his Bible turned to ash. This was not what I was hoping to hear. Turns out there is quite a bit of documentation on the St. Louis exorcism. Yikes!!!

One night I had an awful dream. Carol and I were out water skiing. She fell on her skis and went under the water. When she came up out of the water, she was crying and said that Satan had tried to "get her" when she was under the water. I told her to "tell that son of a bitch to leave you alone and come see me". Another bad move - now I had Satan really pissed off at me. Luckily, I woke up pretty soon.

If all of this weren't enough, one night two tom cats got in a fight under the trailer house we lived in. If you have never heard tom cats fighting in a trailer park, let me tell you, they sound just like Old Beelzebub Himself! Scared the shit out of me again.

Finally, in desperation, I went to see a priest, with a goal of joining the priesthood. He explained that I could not become a priest because I was married - shows you just how much I know about the Catholic Faith. But he explained to me that "Demonic Possession" rarely occurs, and when it does, it is normally of young innocent people - not idiots like myself. So with my "lack of innocence as protection" I kind of got over the fear of Demonic Possession.

All of this happened in 1973, which is 36 years ago now. Fortunately, Satan has not caught up with me yet. But as an added precaution, when I got remarried, I married a nice Catholic Girl - who worked at the Alexian Brothers Medical Center for over 20 years. You just can't take chances when you're fighting Satan.

One more thing......
You know what happens when you don't pay your exorcist?
You get repossessed.

All the best,

As far as I know, everything in this post is absolutely true. If you don't believe me you can ask Jimmy Sanders or my wife, Nancy Roberts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Michelangelo & the Importance of Clean Socks

Some of you may have noticed that I have been away from my blog lately. This is in large part because I was in Northeast Texas last week, where the internet, for many, is still another 20 years away. I am not sure, but my guess would be that less than 1 household in 10 would have access to high speed internet. We have high speed internet at both flower shops - but it is in constant use - and there is little time for goofing-off. In any case, I know many of you have missed the cultural experience of reading the Let Go Journal for a few days, which is why today, I invite you to join me in exploring the relationships and nuances of Michelangelo and Clean Socks.

I had only been in Northeast Texas one day, when I realized I had forgotten to pack my socks. This has happened before, so I wasn't too surprised. The simple solution, just wear yesterday's socks again. This does not usually create a problem. On the other hand, over-doing this can create significant problems.

Consider the case of the original "renaissance man", Michelangelo. It is said that while painting the Sistine Chapel, that he rarely changed any of his clothes - least of all his socks. As a result, they wound up having to actually cut the socks off of his feet - with skin coming off along with the socks in some cases. As you can imagine, this had to hurt a bit. See picture of Michelangelo, to the right - grimacing as his socks are being removed. You know that had to hurt. Worse yet, I'll bet Michelangelo's feet itched like hell! Another thing I have often wondered about is "who got the job of cutting the socks off of Michelangelo's feet?"

As far as I can tell, Michelangelo was pretty much a loner - not married and didn't have anyone to help him with the problems of not having clean socks. Fortunately, for me, I have Nancy, and after three days of wearing the same pair of socks, I spied a pair of her socks laying on the floor, and put them on. Yes, Nancy had worn them the day before, but that still leaves them two days cleaner than mine. Her feet are a little small, but they worked pretty well anyhow. So, I went ahead and wore Nancy's socks for a day or two.

So you ask, "Mike, why didn't you go buy some socks?" The answer is I really don't know. I surely would have bought some new socks if I had known how much my feet would start itching like hell, after about 5 days. I scratched my feet until, like poor old Michelangelo, the skin came off in places. Luckily, as I said before, I have Nancy. She went to the store and got me some stuff to kill "Athlete's Foot Fungus", plus a whole package of new clean socks.

Now after several days of treatment, with "Tough Acting, Tinactin", my feet are starting to recover. Clearly there is a simple lesson that can be learned from this. In the future, when I forget to pack clean socks - I'm going to sneak into Nancy's suit case and steal her clean socks, before I get a bad case of Athelete's Foot. Too bad Michelangelo didn't have Nancy.
All the best,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stimulus: Up the Creek without a Paddle

Like most Americans, I have been nervously watching the U.S. Congress and Senate try and "make the sausage" that we American's will call a "stimulous bill". Irrespective of your political beliefs, the facts are these;

  1. Whatever the "stimulous bill" is, not a single Republican in Congress voted for it.

  2. Whatever the "stimulous bill" is, only 3 Republican Senators support it.

(Once again if you can't see the picture on the right (IP'ers) Click on the title of this article or the picture and you will be transported there. don't we love censorship?)

No matter how you score it, that is not bi-partisan support. Right now, as we used to say in Texas, we are "Up Shit Creek, Without a Paddle." Moreover, we don't seem to have people in elected office who are ready to work together to get us some paddles and help us paddle out of here! What this demonstrates is that no matter what the American people want, our legislators are not willing to work together to get it for us. While the stimulus package may be approved, I don't think it is what most American's have hoped and prayed for. I'd like to give you my take on some of the issues. Am I biased? You're damn right I am, I am biased to turning this country around from the current dismal situation we are currently in.

The key point that McCain and the Republican Party seem to want to make is that we need more "Tax Cuts" to stimulate the economy. I normally agree with tax cuts, of all kinds, but this time I think we may need to ask a few more questions. So let's get down to brass tacks, and let the chips fall where they may:


  1. Tax Cuts for whom? My income (and related tax) has been cut to zero by my company. How are income tax cuts going to help me, or the other 13 Million Americans who are out of work?
  2. Tax Cuts for Business? My company lost $450 million in the last quarter. (and we did better than a lot of companies). How do you expect tax cuts to help us / them?
  3. If you are sincere about tax cuts - who gets them?.... those who are the multi-millionaire buddies of mine, who are only subject to the alternate minimum tax already?
  4. What tax cuts are you proposing for us, the Joe Six Packs out here? Obama's plan says we will reduce taxes on those of us earning less than $200,000 a year by $1000 per married family. Republicans, who are you aiming to help, how will you help them? Please bare in mind that a lot of us - have been just about "trickled down" to death.
  5. Is this the best job you can do as a Bipartisan minority? We do not need obstructionist behavior - that is not what we voted for. We need an American Legislature that works together. Get with the program.


  1. Why, on a bill that is designed to stimulate the economy, why does Senator Inouye of Hawaii find it necessary to attach a payment to Filipino World War II for 100's of millions of dollars? Yes, I know about FDR's promise to the Filipino volunteers, but that is not the purpose of this bill. Put your point across in the proper forum, Senator and get these folks paid. But it is not part of a stimulus bill. Wake up! and of course Aloha, Senator. There are a number of other examples, but I thought this was one of the most flagrant.
  2. Same for all of you that stuck unrelated programs to the stimulous bill. What a great opportunity you gave the Republicans to say their little chant..."Tax and Spend Democrats". They learned this chant from Ronald Reagan, back when I was a young man....why do you keep giving them ammunition? Wake UP!
  3. Pelosi / Reid, is this the best job you can do in creating bipartisan support during a national crisis? If it is shame on you. Wake UP!
  4. Democrats, all, you do not have a strong mandate. Yes, we voted for Obama's promise of change. We did not vote for you to continue bickering with the Republicans. Honestly, we are sick of both the Republicans and the Democrats bickering and not getting your jobs done.
  5. At this pressing time in US history, we do not need "Democrat show boating", flaunting their temporary majority. We need bipartisan efforts to make a better America. Get with the Program. You have a majority right now, but get ready to lose it if you don't behave better.

Failure to cooperate constitutes failing to work in the best interest of the American people; failing to find the common ground, is failure on the part of both political parities. Currently, both parties are disgusting in their partisanship. Our country needs help now, from loyal Americans, on "both sides of the aisle", of all colors, and all groups, to come and work together to pull us out of the ditch we are in.

In terms of bipartisanship, if you don't "get it", no matter what your party affiliation; you ain't no friend of mine or the American people. We need everyone working together. I, for one, am looking for the Shit Creek Paddle Store, cause that is what we need....some paddles and some people willing to start pulling together. I know its out there,and we'll find it with leadership. Then we'll all take up our paddles and we will start to get out of here, paddling sometimes left, and sometimes right. Legislators, show us some leadership, lest we have to just do it ourselves.

All the best,


Sunday, February 8, 2009

What's Your New Plan B???


You know, a lot of us are having to make some adjustments. Unfortunately, for many, these adjustments are not easy. On the other hand, I'm still believing that there is a bright side to these adjustments, and I remain determined to find the bright side.
Big Al, once told me that he was thinking that he would wait until he was around 55, and then if nothing was going "great shakes" he might just slack off and teach school. Well guess what, Big Al and I talked last week, and nothing is going "great shakes" for either of us, and it looks like we may have to work longer than we expected. I'm not totally sure about Big Al, but my perspective has changed some lately - and there may be a need for a new Plan B.
In case anyone hasn't realized it yet, "Dream Jobs" at this point in the game, may be just that, "a dream". Honestly, its a jungle out here. Right now, it is estimated that there are over 11 million Americans who are unemployed. Other estimates say that another 2 million or more may be unemployed in 2009. A lot of incredibly competent people in any number of fields, are finding themselves unemployed. Many of these folks have accepted jobs that cause them to believe that they are "underemployed". In other words, they have taken jobs that pay less and are lower on the "food chain" than the positions they held previously. I think the key to this whole situation is how you look at it.
Let's say, that I continued with Big Al's Plan B, and became a school teacher. (If I did this, I would hope to do it at my old High School in Texas, Paul H. Pewitt High School.) I'll bet you my salary would be reduced from it's current level by at least 75% -80%. On the otherhand, I think the importance of what I would be working on would probably increase by about 200%. If you look at it the right way - I'd be coming out at least 120% better off than I am now. Further, by the time you count the additional time with friends and family that I would have in Northeast Texas, I think I could make an argument that I would be 300% better off. You know, plan B's starting to sound good to me. But that's just me.
I am reminded of the story of a guy who is walking down the street near a construction site. He sees a man laboring with a hammer and some bricks. He asks the man what he is doing. "The man turns and replies with a scowl "Can't you see, I am trying to clean up these nasty old bricks?" As this fellow continues walking down the street, he sees another man performing essentially the same task as the first one and he asks again, "What are you doing?" This man turns and smiles and says, "I am preparing these bricks so that they can be used to make a beautiful temple for the Lord." So I guess, how you feel about your work depends on how you look at it.
As far as all this goes, I'll bet you that I can load up some friends and family on that Greyhound bus and have more fun than anybody ever had driving around in a Jaguar anyday.

All the best,

Friday, February 6, 2009

Searching for an honest man

Diogenes, was a beggar who made his home in the streets of Athens. He is said to have lived in a large tub, rather than a house, and to have walked through the streets carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. (If you can't see the picture on the right, double click the title)

I don't mean to be cynical, but perhaps the modern equivalent of Diogenes is our Presient, Barack Obama, trying to sort through the lobbyists, tax dodgers, and other criminals of Washington DC. trying to find members for his cabinet. From the looks of things, our President may need a better lamp. Say goodnight, Tom Daschle.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Interview with the Spirit of Karl Marx

Lately, I have been hearing that fat blowhard, Rush Limbaugh, lipping-off about how he wants Obama to fail, and how it would be terrible if we “socialized” healthcare, banking, and automobile manufacturing. According to fat-ass Rush, socialization of these institutions would lead to the complete downfall of our country. Although, I’ve been called rude, anti-social, and darn mean – it occurred to me that I really didn’t know that much about “socialism”. Generally, in terms of philosophical issues like these, I find it best to get my information “straight from the horses’ mouth”. (You can’t always trust everyone to be as fair and unbiased as Fox News.) That is why Sunday afternoon I channeled the Spirit of Karl Marx to the Let Go Journal (LGJ) office here in Cordova, to discuss the pro’s and con’s of “Socialism” and how it relates to our current economic problems in the automobile and banking industries.

LGJ: As background, for you readers who, like me, never spent much time thinking about the “true meaning of socialism”, let me give you a little background on our special guest, Karl Marx.

Karl Marx was born in Prussia May 5, 1818. He became well known as a philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, and revolutionary. He is best known for his books, “The Communist Manifesto” and “Das Kapital”. He is often creditied as the "Founder of Communism". Karl left this planet on March 14, 1883, but has been kind enough to return here for this exclusive interview with the Let Go Journal.

LGJ: “Let me get this ball rolling here”, I said. “Professor Marx, welcome, and thanks for popping in tonight. Nancy and I are delighted to have you as our guest.” Nancy, would you mind getting the professor some coffee?”

Karl: No, thank-you Mrs. Roberts. But I would enjoy to have a beer with you, Mr. Roberts.

LGJ: Professor Marx, please call Mike,

Karl: Very well then, Mike and you may call me Karl.

LGJ: Great, Karl. There’s my beer fridge right there just help yourself.

Karl: Thanks – I haven’t had a good Budweiser in almost 200 years.

LGJ: Glad to oblige.

LGJ: Karl, let’s get down to business if we may. First off, Karl, in your view “what is socialism and how do you define it.”

Note: Karl’s English was good, though he spoke with a heavy German accent as he popped the top on his Budweiser and began to explain socialism

Karl: “I started to develop the definition of modern socialism in the late nineteenth-century (around 1850) as “a working class political and intellectual movement of that time. We were very much critical of the effects of industrialization and private ownership on the proletariat. Socialism……”

LGJ: “Excuse me, sorry to interupt Karl. I am trying to get all this down for the Let Go Journal, I Now what is this word you use here “proletariat”."

Karl: “No Problem, Mike.” “The proletariat is just a way of saying "working class people", you know the average guy, what you call… the Joe Six Packs.” For centuries, Karl continued “Joe Six Packs” has been getting SKA-ROO-WED to death by the bourgeoisie.”

LGJ: (I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the way Karl says "screwed" sounds like” SKA-ROO-WED”) Excuse me Karl, did you just say SKA-ROO-WWED by the what?
“what was that Karl, a ….“Bushwazee”? I asked. “Sounds like something to do with George W. Bush to me.”

Karl: (Laughing) “You are not that far off, Mike” The bourgeoisie, is the upper classs of society, you know the ones who owns everything, never work, and always wind up SKA-ROO-WED Joe Six Pack to death. George Bush would be a pretty good example. Come from a very wealthy and influential family. Dodged the Vietnam war. Stayed drunk over half his life, and then becomes the President of your country. Parties in the White House for 8 years, makes a beeeeg mess, leaves all the Joe Six Packs SKA-ROO-WWED Beeeg Time!

LGJ: “OK. So Karl, you see this as sort of a class struggle between the wealthy, which you call the Bushwazee, and the ordinary working guy, Joe Six Pack, which you call the proletariat? And the Bushwazee is always SKA-ROO-ING Joe Six Pack. Is that about it, Karl?” I asked.

Karl Marx: “Yah, dats pretty much it. So, to stop Joe Six Packs from getting SKA-ROO-WED all the time by the Bushwazee, we decided that the government should own everything. That way we could pass out the goodies more evenly to everybody”. I always believed that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution and would represent the transitional stage between capitalism and communism.”

LGJ: “So, you wanted the Joe Six Pack’s of this world to rise up and kick ass on the George Bush types. Then take the wealth of the nation and put it in a big pot and divide it up more evenly."

Karl: “Well that was the general idea, Mike. But it never works. You see, no matter where we move the “wealth, or as we call it the means of production, the Bushwazee come and take it from the Joe Six Packs. We give “wealth to the government”, Bushwazee take over the government”. We give wealth to Joe Six Packs, Bushwazee, come and take wealth. Doesn’t matter”.

LGJ: You mean socialism doesn’t work, Karl? How come?

Karl: “Nope Socialism never works – the problem is two beeeg problems. Number One Beeg Problem: Joe Six Packs is too dumb. Number Two Beeg Problem: Bushwazee is too smart. Never works”

LGJ: Damn, that is truly bad news. So are you saying that the Big Fat-Ass Blowhard Rush Limbaugh is right and that we shouldn’t bail out the banks and the automotive companies?

Karl: “Absolutely, think about it, Mike. This is the beegest danger of a Beeg Fat-Assed Blowhard like Rush Limbaugh. Just when you think he can’t get any more stupid – he has spark of brilliance And Rush has this one nailed.

LGJ: Tell me more Karl.

Karl: You see the rich people have already stolen all of the money out of the car companies and banks. They spent it on nice offices, corporate jets, beeg salaries, huge bonuses, and other amenities, while they ran the companies into the ground. Now they want to get loans and bailouts from Joe Six Packs so they can start all over again. Worse, yet, Joe Six Packs is so dumb – he thinks if he doesn’t bail them out – “he’ll lose his freakin job”.

LGJ: If we bail out that banks and auto companies will that really lead to the downfall of our country, like Rush Limbaugh says?

Karl: (Laughing) No, it won’t lead to the downfall of the country. What will happen is all of the Joe Six Packs gonna mortage you children and grandchildren’s future, to bail out the Bushwazee! Then your children and grandchildren can continue to be slaves to the Bushwazee. My ideas on socialism were great…..but you can’t make it work with Shit-for -Brains, Joe Six Packs on your side.

LGJ: Dang, Karl, I think you are absolutely right. And it’s truly depressing. Have another beer – let’s go watch the Superbowl. I'll give you Arizona and 10 what do ya say?

All the best,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Think Big, One Byte At a Time

Well, my old PC here at the house is just about to give up the ghost. I probably could get it fixed, and get another year or two out of it - but I am not sure how much sense that would really make. I went down to the Best Buy Store and looked at their offerings and really couldn't decide what I wanted. So instead I bought a new external hard drive.

Holy Catz!!! For the princely sum of $119, I got a drive with 1 Terabyte of Storage. What the heck is a "Terabyte" you ask? Me too, I had to look it up. To the right you'll see what I call Mike's Little Big Byte Table. Turns out that a Terabyte is 1000 to the 4th power bytes. Or said another way, a terabye equal's 1000 Million Bytes. For Little Nancy, Big Ike, and my sister DeAnna, who have on occaision, struggled with higher mathematics A Terabyte is a "shitload of bytes".

OK, you ask, "how much is a Shitload of bytes, Mike can you please be a little more specific?" Yes I can! Here are some specifics:

1. I took all the data that I had accumulated in the past 7 years on my old computer and put it on the Terabyte Hard Drive. I dumped all of the pictures, music, spreadsheets, listing of all of my friends, and the entire Let Go Journal onto the new drive. Still over 98% of the Bytes are remain available on the new drive. To be really specific, the drive has 982,416,056,320 bytes still available for use.

2. As of May 8, 2008 the Library of Congress held only 82.6 Terabytes of Data. So as you can see, I am catching up quickly with some of the larger institutions.

3 claims to have 600 Terabytes of geneaology data. This includes the U.S. census data from 1790 - 1930. Wow, I'll bet that's a good read. Can't be sure how it will come out, I am only up to the year 1811 at this point.

4. All internet traffic in 1993, was around 100 Terabytes a year. Right now it is around 150 Terabytes.....a second. I wonder how much data that is in a day? Let's see, 24 hours X 60 minutes X 60 seconds = 86,400 seconds per day. So 86,400 seconds X 150 Terabytes = 12,960,000 Terabytes per day. See, that ain't so much, less than 13 Billion Terabytes daily. I think I better stop before I hurt myself.

5. I remember when Big Al, (my boss in the Rockwell days) and I got started with our Apple 2E computer, we had 64 kilobytes to work with - we eventually expanded to 128 kilobytes. In those days we built the entire annual plan for Rockwell with 128 bytes. Of course, we put in a lot of overtime in those days.

In summary, my suspicion is that 1 Terabyte will hold every single thing that I will know, and there will still be a lot of space left over. In fact, everything I know now, plus everything I might learn, + everything I forgot, + everything I ever even suspected could be stored on this drive, and still it would be like storing a BB in A Boxcar. Finally, if I culled all "my knowledge and wisdom" down a little bit, and just stored the things that I am sure of, they would fit easily on one page of paper. Let me know if you need some space, I think I have plenty.

All the best,