Things I Do Not Understand

26 Nov

The world is full of mysteries. There are things about our home planet that we do not understand and may never will. Sometimes, I think about these mysteries and wonder about the things that I do not understand. Some of them are serious. Some of them are absurd. Some of them can be found in the middle.Understand

Tonight, I do not understand why:

airplanes stay in the sky.

some foods are only prepared during the holidays.

people wonder which came first – the chicken or the egg.

Bigfoot has never been found.

men hit women.

people think they have to choose between science and religion.

silent movies look like that are going in fast forward.

we have to fall back and spring ahead.

people need alcohol to relax or have a good time.

I am addicted to my iPhone.

many people find history boring.

Led Zeppelin will not reunite.

people choose not to vote.

fast food restaurants do not live up to their name.

we buy water in bottles when we already pay for it to come through the tap.

There you have it. On this night, those are the things I do not understand.


The Collapse of the Stapler Industry

25 Nov

Throughout the history of the United States, the economy has fluctuated. There are times when the economy is running on all cylinders, and there are times when it slows to a crawl. The bad economic times have been given many names. Depressions. Recessions. Panics. Downturns. No matter the name, they all mean the same thing. Businesses close. People lose jobs. It is a tough situation for a lot of people.

We have faced one of these low economic periods over the past few years, and, hopefully, we are coming out of it. Various industries have faced difficult times. However, I am convinced that one industry has had it tougher than all the rest. Apparently, manufacturing reached a near standstill. Sales plummeted. It has been total economic chaos.Factory

What industry am I writing about?

The stapler industry.

This may come as a surprise to many of you, but the stapler industry, from my observations, has been hit harder than any other.

What is my proof?

College students cannot find a stapler for their papers. The other day, they turned in a research assignment, and most of them were loose-leafed when they were handed to me. With that few papers stapled, I can only surmise that there is a devastating stapler shortage in our country, which can only be explained by an economic collapse in that industry.

In fact, I am convinced that the stapler in my office is one of the last in existence because random people will show up at my door and ask to use it. Luckily, I also have a box of staples to go with it. What will we do when that box runs out?

I reckon students will have to use paperclips to attach their pages. Or, they might have to do the unthinkable and put their papers in a folder.

The collapse of the stapler industry has been devastating for many people. Jobs lost. Investments vanished. However, college students have been negatively affected, as well. After long searches for something that is impossible to find, they are forced to turn in assignments in a haphazard way. I pity them.

Movie Wisdom – John Mitchum Edition

24 Nov

It is probably too soon for another edition of Movie Wisdom, but I have been inspired by one of my favorite movies, which is on television at this very moment. El Dorado stars John Wayne, James Caan, Robert Mitchum and a ton of character actors. One of those actors is Robert Mitchum’s brother, John.

John Mitchum was never a leading man like his brother, but he was in a bunch of good movies. In honor of finding this gem deep in the heart of my satellite dish, this is the Movie Wisdom that can be found in the movies of John Mitchum.John Mitchum

From Stalag 17

Just because they are dumb doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.

From My Fair Lady

The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.

The French don’t care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven’t used it for years.

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!

From El Dorado

Next time you shoot somebody, don’t go near ‘em till you’re… sure they’re dead!

Faith can move mountains, but it can’t beat a faster draw.

From Bandolero!

There things a man ought never do – spit in church, scratch his self in front of his ma, and pick his nose.

From Chisum

Because no matter where people go, sooner or later there’s the law. And sooner or later they find God’s already been there.

We may have to be neighbors, but I don’t have to be neighborly.

From High Plains Drifter

It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes ‘em afraid.

They say the dead don’t rest without a marker of some kind.

From Magnum Force

A man’s got to know his limitations.

From The Outlaw Josey Wales

Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’.

Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean.

It’s sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues.

Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

Without a doubt, those are wise words.


My iPod Has Issues – But It Does Not Have Writer’s Block

22 Nov

This writer’s block cloud is still hanging around. There are some ideas floating around my mind, but I cannot get them organized to the point of putting them on the screen. On top of that, I do not have the urge to reach the depths that they require. Hopefully, they will work themselves out in short order.Block

Part of me is concerned that this blogging thing has run its course. It has been going on for several years, and it could be time to put this toy away. Perhaps, I just need a break. I have seen a bunch of bloggers come and go, and I have promised myself that I will not be one of those. I think there are still some stories that need to be told. They just need to make themselves known.

With nothing else ready to write, I am going to an old standard and am going to see what my iPod is doing tonight. Certainly, it is something interesting.

“Long Hard Times to Come” by Gangstagrass

“You’re Losing Me” by Zucchero

“Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead

“Love Serenade, Parts 1 and 2″ by Barry White

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by Isaac Hayes

“Caroline No” by The Beach Boys

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

“Chill in the Air” by Amos Lee

“And It Stoned Me” by Van Morrison

“The Last Pale Light in the West” by Ben Nichols

“Ming’s Theme” by Queen

“Clubbed to Death” by Rob Dougan

“Easy” by The Commodores

“I Am…I Said” by Neil Diamond

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell

“Land of Confusion” by Genesis

“Somewhere Down the Crazy River” by Robbie Robertson

“This Train” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe

“Compared to What” by Les McCann and Eddie Harris

May the block be unbroken.

Movie Wisdom – Angelina Jol…Wait, Jon Voight Edition

21 Nov

Today, I read that Angelina Jolie is thinking about retiring. Certainly, she has many items on her plate. There is her new marriage to Brad Pitt along with her role as one of Hollywood’s ambassadors to the world. As soon as I read the news, I thought that there must be some wisdom within her works.

I was wrong. Well, I was not completely wrong. There was some wisdom in a few of her movies, but I could not find enough to make a decent blog post. Then, the decision was made to go with a backup plan.

We will look into the movies of her father, Jon Voight, and see what wisdom can be discovered.Jon Voight

From Midnight Cowboy

Well, if it’s free, then I ain’t stealin’.

It just ain’t right cheatin’ from a pregnant lady.

Make your old grandma proud.

The two basic items necessary to sustain life, are sunshine and coconut milk.

From Deliverance

Sometimes you have to lose yourself ‘fore you can find anything.

 From The Champ

You don’t have to live with someone to love them.

From Heat

I say what I mean, and I do what I say.

From Mission: Impossible

Anonymity is like a warm blanket.

Computers are a bitch.

From Anaconda

There’s a devil inside everyone.

From Pearl Harbor

There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.

A brilliant man would find a way not to fight a war.

From Ali

Free ain’t easy.

From National Treasure

Those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.

Cooperation only lasts as long as the status quo is unchanged.

You know the key to running a convincing bluff? Every once in a while you got to be holding all the cards.

From Glory Road

Nobody can take something away from you that you don’t give them.

From National Treasure: Book of Secrets

A man has only one life time. But history can remember you forever.

Yep, there is a bit of wisdom within the works of Jon Voight. He should speak to his daughter about doing the same thing.

Picture This – The Shadow Horse Gang

18 Nov


A while back, I wrote about a band of outlaws who have roamed throughout northern New Mexico. Their adventures are great, but, like other stories of the American West, those stories will eventually fade into myth and legend. They are tough men who may have seen their last ride, but their names will be remembered throughout the territory and throughout the pages of history.

Originally posted on Surrounded By Imbeciles:

A rare photo of the Shadow Horse Gang. From left: Trader Dave, The Kid, Doc Pete and Shadow Horse

A rare photo of the Shadow Horse Gang. From left: Trader Dave, The Kid, Doc Pete and Shadow Horse

For several years, a band of outlaws has roamed the northern New Mexico territory. Their range has been from as far east as Tucumcari to as far west as El Morro. They have been south to Socorro and north to Ghost Ranch. These are hard men who hideout most of the year and do most of their riding in the spring. Undoubtedly, they are destined to find their way into the annals of New Mexico’s history.

Shadow Horse – The leader of the gang. Some say he came from Louisiana, and others say he used to be a preacher. None of that is certain, but everyone knows that he is part Indian. He is most comfortable on the trails of the back country and moves like the wind over terrain that would kill…

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The Profundity of Two Words

17 Nov

We were having dinner when my stepdaughter, out of nowhere, said something that I thought of as profound and true. It was only two words, but it was something that I agreed with. We went on to discuss why she said it and delved deeper into the issue.

What were those two words?

Mortality sucks.

It has been said many different ways.

The only guarantees in life are death and taxes.

None of us are getting out of this alive.

Those are cute ways of saying that each of us will eventually face our demise. We are all different, but that similarity unites everyone. It is nature. It is how the world works. However, that does not mean we have to like it.

I am not one of those people who thinks about death. In fact, it hardly ever enters my mind. However, it is my job to talk about it. As a historian, I talk mostly about people who are no longer alive. From presidents to prostitutes, they are all part of the story, but they are also all part of the past. Their time has come and gone, and they have gone with it.

There are times when I think of the people I talk about and wonder what they would think about the world that has come after them. What would Thomas Jefferson think about the country that started with his Declaration of Independence?Thomas Jefferson

What would the woman who lived in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1842 think about her descendants? Did her family turn out like she hoped it would?

In my mind, that is one of the worst things about death. We miss out on all of the stuff that happens after. I want to see as much of the future as possible. I want to know what technologies will be invented.  I want to know who all the presidents will be. I want to know who is going to win all of the Super Bowls. However, it will be impossible because mortality exists, and mortality sucks.

There is something else about mortality that I find interesting. Our religions tell us that there is something better in the afterlife. It is a paradise where no troubles exist. This imperfect world will be replaced with a perfect one.

What is interesting about that? No matter how much we believe about the wonders of the afterlife, we fight like crazy not to get there. Exercise. Medicine. Healthy food. We have created all kinds of ways to prolong life in this imperfect world and not have to go to that perfect world.

I am not sure where this post is heading, but here are some things that I think.

I think Thomas Jefferson wanted to know what happened with this experiment that he and the other founders put into motion.

I think people of the past wondered what the future would look like.

I think we wonder the same thing.

I think we come up with ways to prolong life because we want to be part of the story for as long as possible.

I think the world of the future will be better than the world of the past.

I think mortality sucks.



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